Hillsborough Water Works
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"When I visit the classrooms,
I'm finding that kids know quite a bit about water conservation already. I'm just reinforcing that message from a county perspective."

Gerard Watson
Senior Water Conservation Inspector
Hillsborough County
Water Resource Services

Programs

Hillsborough County knows that you can never stop educating citizens about water conservation.  Water Resource Services has several programs in place to educate the public on water. And where better to begin education, than in the classroom.

In the Classroom

watson in the classroomHolding environmental education in high regard is Senior Water Conservation Inspector, Gerard Watson. Gerard visits students in Hillsborough schools to talk about water conservation.  Over the years, Gerard has visited dozens of classrooms to make sure that children understand the importance of conserving water.

“You’d be impressed with how smart some of our elementary students are. Many of them have learned about the Florida aquifer and they understand how important it is to conserve water at home. In some cases, the kids have better conservation habits than their parents do, so they bring that water conservation message to their family members at home.” 

Water Arts

In a show brought alive by singing characters like Rock Shrimp and Man-A-T, Hillsborough County Water Resource Services offers students the opportunity to learn about water conservation in a fun and exciting way. The Water Conservation Arts Education Program brings theater troupes to Hillsborough schools to teach kids that it’s fun and easy to save water.  Bobbing their heads and clapping their hands, students learn about ways they can reduce their own water use. The actors, singers and dancers visit Hillsborough schools and perform shows like “Water Vaudeville Comedy Half-Hour” and "Make-Believe Theater." The theater program is a fun and engaging way for kids to learn that it’s cool to conserve water. More information on these great water theatre shows can be found by visiting http://www.waterarts.com/theatre.htm

Nature’s Classroom

One of the most exciting projects for sixth graders in Hillsborough County is their trip to the Hillsborough River to spend three days at Nature’s Classroom.  The facility is a joint project of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Hillsborough County Public Schools, and the Hillsborough Education Foundation. The 40-year old program is directed by Karen Folsom and gives students a hands-on experience with nature. 

carpet moss on hikeThe programming involves six different activities, which includes boating on the river.  Students get their feet wet – literally - monitoring the water quality and identifying plants and animals found in the Hillsborough River.

“The Hillsborough River watershed is a very important area for us in this community,” notes Karen Folsom. “These habitats provide homes for wildlife and it’s an opportunity for students to experience the nature surrounding them in these wild lands. It’s brand new for them, but it’s a resource that they are going to appreciate when they are done.”

Nature’s Classroom provides students with a comfortable learning atmosphere where they can explore the outdoors. The program serves all sixth-grade students in Hillsborough County. Through a three-day field study, the students learn extensive information about the watershed and gain a firm understanding of different conservation techniques.

“After all, you are not going to be able to protect something if you don’t appreciate it,” says Karen. 

For more information on Nature’s Classroom, please visit http://www.naturesclassroom.org/