B-WET and its partners have developed resources to support implementation of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs)
The MWEE is a learner-centered framework that focuses on investigations into local environmental issues and leads to informed action. This explainer walks you through the MWEE essential elements and supporting practices, and the teacher MWEE professional development practices.
MWEEs in action
Are you interested in examples of what a MWEE looks like in practice? Through this video series you can see how the B-WET program is empowering students to take action around the country. The Chesapeake B-WET program also has a video series offsite link highlighting MWEE essential elements, as well as an archive of MWEE Practitioner webinars.
An Educator’s Guide to the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE), commonly referred to as the MWEE Guide, is a manual designed for users with varying levels of familiarity with the MWEE framework. Within the guide you will find descriptions of the MWEE essential elements, MWEE supporting practices, and why the MWEE is a powerful educational framework; as well as tools and worksheets for planning and implementing a MWEE (like the Think Cloud and the Environmental Literacy Model or “ELM”). The tools and information in this guide help educators ensure that MWEEs are done thoroughly and thoughtfully to increase student environmental literacy.
MWEE 101 is the first course in an online series. This self-guided course introduces educators to the basics of the MWEE through a series of case studies. By the end of the course, participants have a basic understanding of the essential elements, supporting practices, the MWEE Toolbox, the Environmental Literacy Model (ELM), and the research that supports the MWEE as an effective educational approach. When participants complete the course, they receive a certificate of completion and are eligible for CEU/CPD credit in some states.
MWEE 201 is second in an online series and builds off the information from MWEE 101. This course provides more in depth instruction on how to plan your own MWEE or update a current MWEE. Emphasis is placed on planning and conducting outdoor investigations and incorporating student voice and choice. By the end of the course, participants will complete an ELM to describe their MWEE, connect it to standards and curriculum, and plan out the procedures used to guide student-directed investigations and action projects.
Facilitator’s Guides to MWEE training
Facilitator’s Guides are companion texts to the Educator’s Guide to the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE Guide) to support effective MWEE professional learning experiences for teachers and educators. Facilitator’s Guides have been designed for practitioners who are deeply familiar with the MWEE and who will be training other educators on how to apply the tools and resources found in the MWEE Guide to their own classrooms and programs. Guides include relevant drivers of environmental literacy like policies and standards, as well as local case studies and examples.
- On the Chesapeake Exploration website, users can download a generic version of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Facilitator’s Guide that can be used throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and beyond. Guides tailored to Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are also available on that website.
- The Great Lakes Region's Facilitator’s Guide can be found here.
Bay Backpack offsite link is an online resource that supports hands-on environmental learning. By providing educators with information about curriculum guides and lesson plans related to the Chesapeake Bay, Bay Backpack helps educators find the tools they need to give their students MWEEs.
Evaluating a MWEE can improve its long-term success and inform future programs and experiences. Evaluation is the systematic collection of information (often called “data”), from a variety of sources and using a variety of methodologies, that monitor and measure changes brought about by a project or program. In this way, evaluation is both a process and a tool for measuring change. Below, we list some resources that can guide you as you develop your project evaluation plan.
The California B-WET program developed guidance to help grantees evaluate their projects. B-WET applicants and grantees are encouraged to use these resources to develop evaluation plans for their projects.
Other useful project evaluation resources:
- Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Step-by-step Guide offsite link: This guide is designed for people with little or no experience with formal evaluation to help them become more familiar with evaluation concepts and practices, partner better with independent evaluators, and use evaluation more effectively to continually learn from and improve their work.
- American Evaluation Association offsite link: The American Evaluation Association is a professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of evaluation as a profession.
- BetterEvaluation offsite link: BetterEvaluation is a global collaboration aimed at improving evaluation practice and theory through co-creation, curation, and sharing information about how to better plan, manage, conduct and use evaluation.
Measuring student outcomes
Developing student outcomes for environmental literacy in K-12 education
We designed this document for formal and non-formal educators who are developing and implementing environmental education programming with K-12 students. The student outcomes we created were modeled after, and aligned with, standards-based frameworks for K-12 education including the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the College, Career, and Civic Life Standards for Social Studies (C3). In this document we provide a comprehensive list of defined student outcomes related to a working definition of environmental literacy that can serve as a guidepost for environmental education providers in both formal and non-formal contexts as they develop their program activities and evaluation plans for students in grades K-12.
The B-WET program created a communication toolkit to help grantees and MWEE practitioners share their stories with other educators, leaders, and community members to elevate local awareness and demonstrate their project’s value to environmental education, as well as build support for environmental education and MWEEs in general.
The toolkit includes a variety of materials to help grantees and MWEE practitioners communicate about their project including: general B-WET background information, sample press release, sample news blast content, and sample social media posts.
Research citations and references supporting MWEEs
Ardoin, N. M., A. W. Bowers, N. W. Roth, and N. Holthuis. 2018. Environmental education and K-12 student outcomes: A review and analysis of research. offsite linkThe Journal of Environmental Education. 49(1): 1-17.
Ernst, J., E. Burgess, D. Erickson, and R. Feldbrugge. 2020. Beyond Traditional Teacher Professional Development: Innovations in Teacher Professional Learning in Environmental and Sustainability Education offsite link. The Journal of Environmental and Sustainability Education. 24(Dec. 2020).
Ernst, J., and D. M. Erickson. 2018. Environmental education professional development for teachers: A study of the impact and influence of mentoring offsite link. The Journal of Environmental Education. 49(5): 357-374.
Hungerford, H. R., R. A. Litherland, R. B. Peyton, J. M. Ramsey, and T. L. Volk. 1996. Investigating and Evaluating Environmental Issues and Actions. Champaign, IL: Stipes.
Kinne, L. W. 2014. Implementation of Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences (MWEEs) by Middle School Life Science Teachers offsite link (Doctoral dissertation).
Kraemer, A., M. Zint, and J. L. Kirwan. 2007. An Evaluation of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education and Training Program Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences. Unpublished.
Marcum-Dietrich, N., S. Kerlin, A. Hendrix, N. Sorhagen, C. Staudt, and Z. Krauss. 2021. Model my watershed: An investigation into the role of big data, technology, and models in promoting student interest in watershed action offsite link. The Journal of Environmental Education. 1-14.
North American Association for Environmental Education’s (NAAEE) Guidelines for Excellence offsite link
North American Association for Environmental Educators. 2021. The Benefits of EE and Nature Connections in Early Childhood offsite link.
Nuss, S. M., K. Sharpe, C. H. Brill, L. Lawrence, and C. Cackowski. 2019. Building capacity for meaningful watershed educational experiences offsite link. In Exemplary Practices in Marine Science Education, p.p. 323-340. Springer, Cham.
Zint, M., A. Kraemer, and G. Kolenic. 2014. Evaluating Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences: An exploration into the effects on participating students’ environmental stewardship characteristics and the relationships between these predictors of environmentally responsible behavior offsite link. Studies in Educational Evaluation. 41: 4-17.