On March 2, a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) was held for the first time at Virginia State University’s Randolph Farm for approximately 200 middle school students. This event was in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, James River Soil and Water Conservation District, Prince George County Public Schools and Prince George County 4-H. Students participated in hands –on environmental learning activities concerning the Chesapeake Bay. The following is a list of the different stations the students were exposed to during the event. Stops included activities involving wetlands (soil probe testing), parking lot runoff, fish identification and aquatic habitats, riparian buffers (Appomattox River site), aquatic water quality analysis, hydroponics, and animals (alpacas, goats & sheep). Presentations were adapted to the Virginia Standards of Learning.
What is a MWEE?
A MWEE is an investigative or experimental project that engages students in thinking critically about the Bay watershed. A MWEE integrates field work in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with multidisciplinary classroom activities and instruction. Students then share their discoveries with local schools and communities, both orally and in writing.
MWEEs Are Integrated within the Instructional Program.
A MWEE is not a single field trip; rather, the experience reflects an integrated approach to learning. MWEE’s align with jurisdictional learning standards and occur where and when they fit into the existing curriculum. They are also effective tools for teaching many subjects including science, math, history, reading and art.
MWEEs Involve Preparation, Action and Reflection.
A MWEE is organized into three phases. First students research and discuss a watershed issue or problem in preparation for the field component. Second, students take action by observing, measuring, or collecting data during their outdoor experience. Third, students return to the classroom, reflect upon and analyze their project and reach conclusions.
MWEEs Reveal the Watershed as a System.
MWEEs have an intentional connection to the watershed as a whole. Experiences focus not only on the Bay, rivers, and streams, but also on terrestrial issues such as erosion control, buffer creation, groundwater protection, and pollution prevention.
For more information concerning MWEEs contact:
Watershed Outreach and Education
Project Wet Coordinator
Virginia Office of Environmental Education