Watershed Detectives promotes environmental stewardship, with a specific focus on stormwater pollution prevention, by enhancing critical thinking skills and drawing specific links between human actions and their ecological impacts on the Puget Sound watersheds. Students learn about Puget Sound watersheds, water quality, and non-point source and stormwater pollution while enhancing critical thinking skills and performing pollution-prevention projects.
Throughout the Watershed Detectives curriculum, students, parents and teachers learn how to 1) identify the causes, sources and effects of stormwater pollution (e.g. fertilizers, pesticides, soap, oil, pet waste); 2) become aware of how their activities (e.g. washing cars in the driveway) affect the environment; and 3) and encouraged to adopt responsible practices (e.g., natural yard care) in their homes, schools, and businesses to prevent, and reduce stormwater pollution. Watershed Detectives promotes pollution reduction though pro-active, preventative behaviors.
The Watershed Detectives program implements modern teaching techniques, such as hands-on activities and inquiry-based methods, to improve student learning. Watershed Detectives scaffolds student learning. It begins with basic science concepts such as defining watersheds and testing water quality, and then builds to provide students with a more complete picture of the health of their local watershed. Students are then prepared to ask appropriate questions and tackle more complex problems within stormwater management and watershed ecology.
With its emphasis on water quality and stormwater runoff, Watershed Detectives complements the goals of the Puget Sound Initiative. Stewardship behaviors promoted in the “Puget Sound Starts Here” campaign are encouraged and explained throughout the curriculum, plus participants will gain direct experience in investigating the landuse, water quality and watershed dynamics of their local watersheds which ultimately drain to Puget Sound.
Funding for Watershed Detectives has been provided from the Washington State Department of Ecology.
Partnering organizations include Snohomish County Surface Water Management and AmeriCorps-Washington Service Corps.