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The Connecticut River Conservancy says its new EnviroScape Watershed/Nonpoint Source Model is a valuable tool for teaching elementary and middle school students about how stormwater runoff collects pollutants and carries them into lakes and rivers. 

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BRATTLEBORO — The Connecticut River Conservancy is spreading the word about the EnviroScape Watershed/Nonpoint Source Model, a valuable tool for teaching elementary and middle school students about how stormwater runoff collects pollutants and carries them into our lakes and rivers. This physical model helps educate students about ecological topics, which may be difficult to comprehend with pictures or written lessons alone. Teachers can either borrow the model itself and incorporate it into their lesson plans, or an Eco AmeriCorp member or one of CRC’s River Stewards can provide presentations in schools or at other educational/community events.

“We recently brought along the EnviroScape to the Vermont Wildlife Festival,” says Alden Dumas, an ECO AmeriCorps member serving with CRC focusing on outreach and community engagement. He adds, “It really was a great tool to explain watershed conservation to the kids. Lots of kids were coming up to our table and asking questions, and it was helpful to have something dynamic and tangible to address their curiosities — it keeps them engaged and provides us a great opportunity to convey this information without losing their interest.”

Kathy Urffer, CRC’s River Steward in Vermont, continues, “It is valuable for us as an organization, or for anyone who teaches or explains environmental issues, to use this tool to connect with community members around these concepts. A lot of the students and families we engage with fish, swim, or paddle in our rivers; there’s lots of different ways that the community is familiar with our waterways. This tool is really useful because it explains how our surface waters become polluted and helps to illustrate the work being done to protect and restore our rivers and streams.”

Kate Buckman, the River Steward in New Hampshire agrees, “Having a physical model to interact with can really enhance understanding of how our actions as humans can influence what is happening in our rivers, in both negative and positive ways, by simplifying complex concepts into something more visual, tactile, and hopefully easy to remember.”

Any teachers or schools interested in borrowing the EnviroScape model or who are interested in having a presentation done at their school should contact CRC at enviroscape@ctriver.org.