Water in Our Environment: Education Project
This report was produced for the Urban Water Research Association of Australia, a now discontinued research program.
Report no. UWRAA 58
The Water In Our Environment education project was initiated and funded in the1990/91 financial year by the former Mornington Peninsula and District Water Board (now part of Melbourne Water).
During the financial year 1991/92 the project was jointly funded by Melbourne Water and a grant from the Urban Water Research Association of Australia. Work carried out in this project was managed by the Communications Branch of the South East Region of Melbourne Water and was categorised into three areas:
1. Development Of Printed Program Material – The program material development stage was conducted by an educational consultant (Harry Breidahl, of Nautilus Educational), with the support of Melbourne Water staff and local teachers. It resulted in the production of five printed packages, one for each of the following program areas:
1.1 Water In Our Environment Information Pack – A series of 10 Information Sheets was produced to provide background information for all other program areas (see Appendix 1).
1.2 Looking At Water Supply – The focus of this program, based on Frankston Reservoir, was the study of water supply for school year levels 4 to 10 (see Appendix 3a).
1.3 Watching Wastewater – The focus of this program, based at Mornington Purification Plant, was the study of wastewater for school year levels 4 to 10 (see Appendix 3b).
1.4 Frankston Reservoir, VCE Fieldwork – The focus of this program, based at Frankston Reservoir, was the facilitation of fieldwork requirements of Unit 1 (year 11) Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) environmental studies, biology and geography (see Appendix 3c).
1.5 Tarago Reservoir, VCE Fieldwork – The focus of this program, based at Tarago Reservoir, was the facilitation of fieldwork requirements of Unit 3 (year 12) VCE geography (see Appendix 3d). Because of changes in VCE work requirements, and in response to local teachers, this program replaced the development of a VCE program for the Mornington Purification Plant that was included in the original project brief.
2. Curriculum Development And Professional Development – In association with the Southern Region of the Department of School Education, a program with the joint aims of curriculum development by, and the professional development of, teachers from the Frankston and Mornington areas was carried out (see Appendix2).
3. Melbourne Water Staff Development Program – A brief investigation of the role of Melbourne Water staff involved in trial excursion programs was conducted.
Both the project methodology and the materials produced will not only be easily adapted for use by other regions of Melbourne Water but should be able to beapplied by water authorities Australia-wide.
Key findings and recommendations of the project are:
- The development of specific education programs, such as the five program areas described in this report, should be carried out by water authorities, such as Melbourne Water.
- The maintenance of links between water authorities, such as Melbourne Water, and education authorities, such as the Victorian Department of School Education, is seen as extremely valuable. However, it is suggested that the funding of teacher involvement in curriculum development or professional development programs should be the responsibility of education authorities rather than water authorities.
- Both the Water In Our Environment information pack, and the methodology used to produce it, can be adapted for use by other Melbourne Water regions or other water authorities.
- The development of trial education programs for Frankston and Tarago Reservoirs and the Mornington Purification Plant should be followed up with the establishment of permanent programs at these facilities (see Appendix 3 for further recommendations relating to the development of excursion programs). As before, the excursion program materials and methodology used to produce them can be adapted for use by other areas of Melbourne Water and by other water authorities.
- Teachers should be encouraged to contribute copies of any appropriate curriculum materials to a resource collection catalogued by, and stored at, local Melbourne Water offices. Orientation workshops conducted by Melbourne Water should be offered to teachers at schools taking part in education programs at Melbourne Water facilities.
- Although education programs for both primary and secondary school groups are the main focus of this report, it is implied that any programs or special facilities created for schools can, and should, be adapted to cater for the education of community groups.
- A training program for Melbourne Water staff involved as guides in education programs should be developed.
Finally,the Water In Our Environment Steering Committee would like to thank the UrbanWater Research Association of Australia for funding assistance in developingthe Water in Our Environment project. This successful pilot project nowprovides a valuable basis for further development and extension.