The Action Project provides students with the opportunity to determine and address watershed health issues that affect their community at the school, neighborhood, or city level. Integrating an action project into curriculum is an opportunity for students to connect with key watershed concepts and topics through on-the-ground work and skill-building.
RiverXchange® utilizes an Environmental Action Civics process developed by Earth Force. RiverXchange® staff work closely with the Earth Force team to ensure we are delivering the most high-quality resources and guidance available to support action project success in our classrooms. Environmental Action Civics is a youth-adult partnership that helps young people identify environmental concerns in their community, investigate the causes of these concerns, and to advocate for positive, effective changes to policies or practices in their communities. Environmental Action Civics emphasizes process over product and skill-building in collaboration, investigation and reflection. Determining effective solutions to real-world problems and asking for change can seem daunting, even to adults. However, developing these skills alongside our core program on local water resource and watershed health concerns is an impactful way to start building these skills in the youth of today.
By empowering students to work together to creatively solve problems through an action project, we are supporting students in becoming the next generation of stewards and advocates for our lands and waters.
The Action Project Framework
Six Stages – Environmental Action Civics
About the Earth Force Process
The Earth Force Process is a research-based model to implement Environmental Action Civics. It provides a framework for project-based teaching and learning that can be readily adapted to any age group or topic area, as well as to a range of timeframes for working with students. It is a series of six steps that, taken in sequence, guide you and your students to a civic action project that:
- meets a real community environmental need
- is of interest to your students
- aligns with your curricular goals
- is feasible to conduct
Stage 1 – Community Environmental Inventory
Students assess their community for environmental strengths and concerns using several methods of conducting an environmental inventory. They develop an awareness of the importance of taking public action in their community and of the roles of an environmental citizen.
Stage 2 – Issue Selection
Students practice criteria-based and democratic decision-making to refine and select a single issue for deeper research and information gathering. This step ensures students select an issue they are excited about and meets your academic goals.
Stage 3 – Policy and Community Practice Research
Students conduct research on their issue, exploring policies and practices related to their issue using questioning and information analysis skills, identifying and interacting with stakeholders and experts on their issue, exploring different perspectives on their issue, and discovering strategies for change.
Stage 4 – Goal and Strategy Selection
Students use democratic and criteria-based decision making to select one policy or practice they want to change and the most appropriate strategy to achieve the desired change.
Stage 5 – Planning and Taking Civic Action
Students work collaboratively to create an action plan for making the desired change and implement their plan.
Stage 6 – Reflection, Going Public, and Planning for the Future
Students review their experience by recognizing their successes, analyzing challenges, reflecting on lessons learned, and identifying potential next steps for their project.
“The successes we had in completing our action project was honoring student voices. Students were able to be active participants/leaders in creating the project.” – Martinez, Valle Vista ES
Envisioning the Action Project
Some highlights of the action project process:
- Involves students engaging with other classrooms, administrators, stakeholders
- Involves democratic, criteria-based decision-making
- Involves asking for change in practices or policies in the community
- Involves reflection and celebration of the work completed!
Action Projects should address a water resource threat. It is likely your project will fall under one of the following categories:
- Addressing pollution/waste streams, like liter on your school campus.
- Addressing water waste through leaks, overuse or food waste.
- Promoting more green spaces on your campus like food gardens and trees.
Action Project Criteria/Process Guidelines
- Student Voice: Student voice is centered in the process
- Practicality: The process is practical and achievable
- Civic Engagement: Students interact with community members, stakeholders, experts etc outside of the classroom
- Impact: Students ask for change that is reasonable and benefits the community
SUBMITTING YOUR ACTION PROJECT
Instructions for submitting
OPTION 1 (PREFERRED) Create a slideshow that addresses the following :
Student Voice and Participation. Tell us briefly how all students were able to participate and contribute to the process.
Practicality. Did you have all the resources you needed to complete the various stages of this project. Did you experience any obstacles or barriers that you didn’t anticipate?
Civic Engagement. Did you involve community members outside of your classroom in the process? Who else participated or contributed in this project?
- How many others outside of your classroom did this process reach? Please give an estimate of the total number reached and explain who that was.
Impact. Did you ask for change from decision makers or people in power? Is the ask for change reasonable. How will it benefit your community? What was the change you asked for?
OPTION 2: Fill out this form to submit: ACTION PROJECT SUBMISSION FORM