Potential Guest Speaker Organizations
Guest speakers and field trip docents bring a fresh perspective, share important technical information and reduce a teacher’s workload! Students love to write about what they learned from a guest speaker and field trip docent.
We recommend you search the internet to identify organizations in your area/region that provide water resources outreach. These organizations have different names in every state, county or town. Even if there isn’t an obvious education section on their website, try searching the site for “education,” “outreach” or “workshop” – most websites have a “search this website” box somewhere on the home page. Try searching for agencies that provide Project WET training or workshops about your local river. Project WET contacts can be found at http://projectwet.org/where-we-are/map/.
County Cooperative Extension Offices – Most counties have one of these offices serving area adults and youth (i.e., 4-H) with projects relating to natural resources, agriculture, home economics, etc. Especially in western states, county agents will provide outreach on irrigation and other water resources topics.
City/County Water Utility, Public Works, Stormwater/Flood Control – Call your local water utility and ask if they can provide a guest speaker or even a tour on drinking water and/or wastewater! Most utilities do at least some outreach. In larger cities like Albuquerque, a water utility may serve the major urban area while a county agency may serve residents outside the city limits. Each may have their own water resources outreach programs. In addition, communities often have an agency or department that oversees stormwater/flood control.
Local Watershed Associations – Many streams and rivers have watershed associations devoted to the protection of the land area that drains into the river. Some provide educational programs.
City/County Open Space or Parks Departments – Many cities and counties have a division for acquiring and protecting public open space. They may have property near your river or stream, where they could lead your field trip, or they may have staff or volunteers available to visit your classroom.
U.S./State Fish and Game/Wildlife Departments – Fish and Game/Wildlife Departments in many states offer the Trout in the Classroomprogram, or other education initiatives. Some own nature centers where your class might be able to take a field trip, or they may have staff or volunteers available to visit your classroom.
State Environment/Ecology/Natural Resources Departments – Many state environmental agencies have staff available to do education outreach. A complete listing of such agencies by state is available at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/state.htm
State Parks or Conservation & Recreation Departments– Depending on their budget, staff or volunteers may be able to offer programs at state parks, or even visit your classroom.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts – SWCDs were first established nationwide as a response to the 1939 Dust Bowl, focusing on controlling erosion of agricultural soil. Each district is unique in the services it offers, and may have staff available to visit your school. Districts may span parts of more than one county.
U.S. Forest Service, National Forests and Recreation Areas – National Forest Rangers and Biologists are often willing to work with teachers and may even be able to visit your classroom. Contact your local ranger district to find out what they offer.
Water for People – A volunteer organization for water resource professionals, supporting the development of locally sustainable drinking water resources, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education programs in the developing world. Check out http://www.waterforpeople.org/community/committees/to contact the organization in your area and ask if they can provide a guest speaker.
Natural History Museums, Zoos and Aquariums – Most museums, zoos or aquariums have education programs – check their website to see if they offer classroom visits or other programs. Often they have interesting materials available for loan.
State Land Offices – Many states have a public lands department that does education outreach.