Potomac Highlands

Watershed School

Our watershed curriculum explores the geography of watersheds, and teaches how the different parts of a watershed interact.

 Why worry about watersheds? In part, because watersheds are where we live – most obviously in mountainous terrain like West Virginia’s Potomac Highlands. Perhaps more importantly, the watershed – rather than political boundaries - has become the organizing concept underlying environmental assessment and protection efforts at both the local, state and regional levels. This is a logical approach, as most of us "live downstream" from somebody else, and that somebody we are downstream from lives in our watershed. For example, the Chesapeake Bay is "downstream" from West Virginia, and efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay from pollution focus on pollution delivered through watersheds (like the Potomac).

Government agencies increasingly seek to solve problems by working with inclusive citizen's groups known as watershed associations; as the name implies, watershed associations consist of people living within a watershed who have a shared interest in a clean environment.  This has created a new and very positive way for citizens to work with and impact government action.



 What is a Watershed is a simple Flash narrative, with limited student interaction, about the watershed concept.  Paced at the elementary school level, it is found on the Blackboard in the elementary and middle school classrooms.  What is a Watershed is an effective introduction to the watershed concept for elementary, middle, and even at the high school students.  The idea of using water flowing off the roof of a shed to introduce the watershed concept was based on an experience in the real world where CI staff was in a shed with a bunch of middle school students talking about watersheds - and it started to rain.  

Potomac Watershed Puzzle. This activity, which is found in all of the PHWS classrooms, explores the geography of watersheds, a dominant feature of West Virginia's mountainous landscape.  To read or printout Watershed Puzzle's content, click here.  
Watershed Creator. In this activity, which is found in all of the PHWS classrooms, the user builds a watershed by matching the parts of the watershed with their functions.  To read or printout Watershed Creator's content, click here.  
The water cycle.  This activity, which is on the Region of Waterloo website (in California), has a very nice water cycle animation that introduces the way water moves through a watershed.   Click here.  --> Click on "hydrologic cycle" to access.
Web Scavenger Hunts. The user visits websites from around the region to find answers to questions about West Virginia's Potomac Highlands.   Available on each classroom's blackboard.


Links for "What is a Watershed" 


The Story of Water

    This website provides a wealth of facts about water related topics such as water pollution, water treatment, and the water cycle. There are also fun activities to help you learn about water use in your home and tips on how to conserve water.

Hydrologic Cycle

http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycle.html.  This new site from the United States Geological Survey says it has the most comprehensive Web site about the water cycle anywhere.  They may well be right - there is a wealth of information here.


Waterloo  Click on "hydrologic cycle" to access. This interactive water cycle allows the user to see how water moves through the landscape. The website allows the users to advance at their own pace. Each step includes a brief description of what is happening visually in the watershed.

The Water Cycle for Kids.  The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for kids and elementary and middle schools.

http://www.epa.gov/region07/kids/wtrcycle.htm. This offering from the United States Environmental Protection Agency provides a concise overview of the water cycle.  


National Watershed Network

Locate organizations working to protect watersheds.

WV Division of Environmental Protection - Watershed Assessments

The ecological assessments found in this website present the findings of scientific research in a manner that can be understood by the non-scientist.  Maps, figures, graphs, and tables help visually explain the descriptive text, and the most recent reports include glossaries that explain potentially confusing acronyms and scientific words.

WV Division of Environmental Protection - Watershed Management Framework

The Watershed Management Framework describes West Virginia's comprehensive approach to managing the state's waters and their surrounding ecosystem.  This process helps establish a coordinated manner for government agencies, businesses, environmental groups, watershed associations, and citizens to participate in identifying streams that require restoration, protection, or enhancement. The goal is to develop and implement management strategies through a cooperative long-range planning effort.

EPA’s Watershed Information Network

Links to EPA’s Adopt-A-Watershed, Surf Your Watershed, 1000’s of Environmental Web Sites, and the Watershed Locator. This web site is a portal to a large amount of EPA information including watershed maps, contact information for organizations working in watershed across the county,…..

USGS Water Science for Schools

A web site with general information about water use, protection, etc. has more specific link to drinking water, ground water, etc.

Groundwater Foundation Kids Corner

A site devoted to teaching kids about groundwater in a variety of ways. Site contains lists of groundwater definitions, activities, educational coloring sheets, etc.

Water Conservation for Kids

The students at the Valley Charter School in Northern California asked us to add this resource as a reminder that everyone can make a difference in conserving our water resources.

How to Conserve Water in the Bathroom 

A  Girl Scout troop in Denver, Colorado used our resources to work on their "Water Wonders" badge.  They asked us to add this link.