Donny Roush

Triangulating Next Generation Science Standards, Clean Water Act Requirements and Youth

"Denver Public Works contracts Earth Force to provide education and outreach services, a Clean Water Act requirement of Denver’s “municipal separate storm water sewer system” permit (MS4). From an engineering standpoint, MS4 is simple: Collect precipitation from where it can’t soak in, keep it clean, and move it downstream. Most U.S. municipalities of 100,000 or more have an MS4.

In addition to traditional channels like festivals, brochures, and assemblies, Earth Force is elevating MS4 education efforts by facilitating community engagement and youth leadership alongside – and on equal footing – with standard science content. With links to national education reform embodied in the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards, and Guidelines for Excellence in Environmental Education, Earth Force is developing a next-generation, MS4-compliant way to teach.

The new approach is called Keep It Clean – Neighborhood Environmental Trios. A KIC-NET site consists of a school, park, and body of water within 5-10 minutes’ walk of each other. Another trio is formed by the governmental organizations convened: school district, public works, and parks and recreation department. The Denver pilot will have 10 KIC-NET sites and involve 750 students in the 2013-14 school year. Students will learn to solve neighborhood issues, applying classroom learning to problems they’ve discovered right in their neighborhoods."

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