Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories
Alabama (Section 319I - 1994)
Alabama brought together interested individuals from across the state to discuss the need to develop - long-range goals and coordinate efforts to combat nonpoint source pollution. This task force will focus on creating an inventory of all NPS activities, interests, and funding; on defining problems from a source, not industry, perspective; and on reviewing the state assessment.
Teacher Education Brings Pollution Prevention Awareness to Many
For the past 20 years, environmental education has been widely accepted. But time and money have prevented - Alabama from developing a coordinated formal NPS program. However, section 319 funding has allowed the state to conduct a teacher training workshop that spawned a successful ongoing teacher education program and a public/ private partnership to launch a broader state environmental education program. While several "values" oriented environmental education programs exist, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) saw the need for a teacher workshop on NPS pollution prevention that would deal with evaluation and problem solving. The workshop was coordinated with the Center for Environmental Research (CERS) at Troy State University and funded through a section 319 grant. The first workshop, held in the summer of 1991, introduced secondary school teachers to NPS basics. A three-day workshop--which included speeches by dignitaries and environmental educators from the state, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and EPA--featured hands-on activities in the classrooms and in the field. Participants conducted stream and pond investigations and biological, chemical, and habitat assessments. ADEM provided a variety of classroom resources.
Favorable comments from the 42 participants prompted the state to hold a second workshop in the summer of 1992. The successful four-day program, held at two locations, featured more field exercises, including instream monitoring. Participants received water quality monitoring kits for Alabama's volunteer monitoring program.
Two workshops in the summer of 1993, using only half of the FY 1991 grant allocation, grouped teachers with environmental professionals to share understanding and resources. As part of the workshop, participants took the citizen's monitoring program training, a six-hour certified course given by Auburn University. Summer workshops and regional in-service courses have reached over 200 Alabama teachers. As a result, untold numbers of students, faculty, and parents have benefitted from the knowledge.
The increased awareness brought about by Alabama's environmental educations program has encouraged a broader statewide public/citizen environmental education program called Legacy: Partnership in Environmental Education. This not-for-profit corporation has pulled together state agencies, universities, and other interested parties to coordinate and combine on-going educational efforts. For example, 319 funds produced a water resources map for teachers around the state. With 319 funds, ADEM plans to expand its teacher workshops. It is also planning a college-level credit course to provide teachers with in-depth technical and site evaluation training.