The health of Lake Champlain and other waterbodies in the Lake Champlain basin, which lies within portions of Vermont, New York and Quebec, are negatively impacted by nonpoint sources of pollution, including phosphorus, nitrogen, sediments, chloride, and bacteria. All of this pollution is carried to waterbodies in stormwater runoff. Thus, it is critical that everyone understand what stormwater is, and how to help clean it and reduce its volume before it enters local waterways.
Stormwater is water from rainfall and melting snow or ice that moves over the land, collecting pollutants as it makes its way to lakes, ponds, streams and other surface waters. In urban areas, stormwater reaches surface waters more quickly and in larger volumes during and immediately following rain events than it does in natural areas. This is due to the many impervious surfaces in urbans areas that prevent stormwater from infiltrating into the ground. Conversely, in natural areas, stormwater can more easily soak into the ground. It then makes its way slowly through the ground, recharging surface waters consistently from beneath.
This curriculum is designed for teachers to use to guide students to:
• Understand watersheds and the impact that stormwater can play within them;
• Identify possible sources of stormwater in their communities; and
• Engage in a stewardship project that helps clean and minimize stormwater runoff to surface waters.
• Lead others to engage in stormwater stewardship.
This curriculum can be used on its own or in conjunction with the Lake Champlain Sea Grant and UVM Extension Watershed Alliance Stream Monitoring and Stewardship program.
The curriculum is divided into four sections that align with the learning objectives. In Section 1, students learnabout stormwater and its movement through watersheds, and the types of pollutants that stormwater can carry to surface waters. In Section 2, students learn to monitor and measure stormwater, and they are introduced to green stormwater infrastructure as a mechanism to treat and reduce stormwater runoff from a property. Activities are designed to engage students to make recommendations about green stormwater infrastructure practices for their school grounds and local communities. In Section 3, students engage in a stormwater stewardship project. These are separated into three tiers based on complexity and cost of the project. In Section 4, students take action to engage others in stormwater stewardship activities.
Teachers have the option to carry out the curriculum in its entirety or to use guidance provided to engage students in any individual activity or grouping of activities. Each section includes an overview with guiding questions, student learning objectives, Next Generation and Common Core Science Standards, a list of activities and materials, preparation guidelines for educators, activity descriptions, resources for additional information, and background reading and worksheets for students. Key terms are listed in bolded red font and defined in a glossary at the end of the curriculum. Background information and worksheets designed for student use are marked in the upper righthand corner to aid in locating those resource pages within the curriculum.
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Lake Champlain Sea Grant and University of Vermont Extension, "Soaking Up Stormwater Through Education and Stewardship in the Lake Champlain Basin and Beyond" (2021). Lake Champlain Sea Grant Institute. 4.