Participate

2012 Water Champions: North America


Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Environmental Education (Group)

Please describe your qualifying accomplishments.  

FDEP_12In 2012, The Office of Environmental Education set out to register the greatest number of sites and engage the most people using the WWMC of any state in the US. By the end of 2012 -in less than five months - Florida registered 210 sites and had 4,176 participants. These results squarely put Florida on the map with the highest number of participants, the largest number of non-batchloaded sites, the greatest geographic coverage, and the probably the fastest growth in participation of any state.

The OEE served as the point of contact for the entire agency – promoting the challenge, suggesting outreach opportunities, providing kits and training, registering sites and uploading data. The response from the various offices within the Department of Environmental Protection as well as partner organizations was overwhelming. This success lays the foundation for 2013. 


Where and when did your activities take place?
  

Outreach activities occurred throughout the state of Florida. In particular, we engaged partners at our 18 sites affiliated with our Learing in Florida's Environment (LIFE) program, at charter teacher professional development workshops throughout the state and FDEP District offices in North and South Florida. The OEE began outreach activities in September and completed them in December.


What effect have your efforts had at the local, state, or national level? Who was your intended audience?
 

At the state level we have increased the awareness about the World Water Monitoring Challenge within our agency and other key partners. Additionally, other offices within FDEP have connected their research and outreach activities, through identifying sites where students can learn both about the regulatory role of our agency and gain hands-on field experience. Our intended audience included middle school aged students throughout Florida, primarily from underserved schools affiliated with our LIFE sites, and student groups identified by FDEP district office staff.


Were there other groups or individuals involved in your activities? If so, please describe their input.
  

Yes, primarily there were 7 FDEP district offices and 18 FDEP LIFE sites involved in recruiting volunteers and identifying accessible and suitable water monitoring sites. In addition to FDEP staff, at each LIFE site, partners from local school districts, natural resource volunteer organizations and state parks were also involved in identifying sites,identifying student groups and assisting with water monitoring.


What are your plans for taking the Challenge this year? What are your goals, needs?
 

For the next World Water Monitoring Challenge, we expect to double the number of participants and outreach events held. In the long run we hope to establish and sustain The World Water Monitoring Challenge in Florida as an annual outreach event.

 

Jackie Turner (Individual)

Please describe your qualifying accomplishments  

Jackie Turner is the Park Service Specialist at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. For the past six years, she’s led water quality monitoring events through 16-24 different water bodies in the park. Her day-long field experiences allow groups of 10-15 students, parents, and volunteers to experience the world-renowned hydrological features of Wakulla Springs. During Jackie’s program, participants take a boat trip over one of the state’s largest springs. While on the boat, participants measure the four main water quality parameters and learn their importance to the water body. They then explore other areas of the park, including sinkholes, springs and a well from which they test the groundwater. 

Not only does Jackie hold WWMC events, she educates the public about water quality every day. Whether developing educational games or educating park visitors, Jackie has proven to be more than just a Water Champion, she’s a Water Hero.


Where and when did your activities take place?
  

The core activity takes place within the boundaries of the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.


What effect have your efforts had at the local, state, or national level? Who was your intended  audience?
 

Each year, Jackie’s work reaches directly the students, parents and volunteers who participate in her program. Many of the participants are volunteers or educators who will apply what they’ve learned in their own outreach and education programs – further expanding the audience served.


Were there other groups or individuals involved in your activities? If so, please describe their input.
 

Jackie often invites water quality experts from other divisions and programs within the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. These specialists provide additional detail and background on the water quality parameters that are examined, share information on other water monitoring programs of the state, and introduce some of the technology used by the Department’s scientists.


What are your plans for taking the Challenge this year? What are your goals, needs?
 

Jackie will continue to be a leader for the World Water Monitoring Challenge in future years, by continuing her unique water monitoring field day. In addition, she designed a field lab where students use water quality parameters (including a macroinvertabrate study) to compare to distinct aquatic systems: a cypress dome pond and the spring run. This lab will be conducted twice annually and the data will be posted by the students on the World Water Monitoring Challenge website.