Search Results for: meaningful watershed education experience

Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience

What is a MWEE?MWEE tjswcd

A MWEE or Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience is an investigative or experimental project that engages students in thinking critically about the Bay watershed. MWEEs are not intended to be quick, one-day activities; rather, they are extensive projects that allow students to gain a deep understanding of the issue or topic being presented. Students participate in background research, hands-on activities and reflection periods that are appropriate for their ages and grade levels.

What are some examples of MWEEs?

MWEE tjswcd2A successful MWEE includes activities both within and outside of the classroom, often including full-day field experiences outside of school.

  • In the classroom, students have learned about the anatomy and physiology of blue crabs by researching the species and examining live blue crabs. Students then accompany researchers on trawl boats to see blue crab habitat firsthand.
  • Many teachers have worked with their students to build wildlife habitats on school grounds, strengthening the connection between students and their environment. These habitats are then used to study a variety of environmental topics.

Curriculum used for a successful MWEE organized by the Hanover-Caroline SWCD was developed in conjunction with DEQ and is SOL aligned and can be found on the DEQ website at – Hanover-Caroline Soil & Water Conservation District MWEE.



Other Resources

Additional Information

If your SWCD would like additional information or support organizing a MWEE please contact Bonnie Mahl, VASWCD Education & Training Coordinator at  or 804-559-0324. Teachers with questions about implementing a MWEE are also encouraged to reach out to their local SWCD or VASWCD.

VASWCD Educational Foundation


This section describes a special foundation that was created to further address the educational mission of the State Association and all 47 districts.  The VASWCD Educational Foundation, Inc. was established in 1990. It is a nonprofit foundation, classified as a 501(c)(3) organization.  The Foundation mission is to provide and promotes leadership in the conservation of natural resources through stewardship and education programs.

The Virginia Envirothon is a project of the VASWCD Education Foundation. Envirothon is a natural resource competition for high school students. Students who participate learn stewardship and management concepts and work to solve real environmental issues. The program is field oriented, community based, and gives students an opportunity to work with natural resource professionals. 

Another flagship program of the Foundation is Youth Conservation Camp (YCC). YCC is offered to high school students from across the Commonwealth. The program is sponsored by local SWCDs and coordinated by the VASWCD. Campers spend a week during July on the campus of Virginia Tech and the surrounding area learning about conserving Virginia’s natural resources. 

Other projects of the Foundation include scholarship opportunities, director and staff training opportunities, workshops for local educators, Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) support, annual poster contest and awards program, etc..

The Foundation relies on donations and grants. Contributions to the Educational Foundation are tax deductible and utilized to support educational efforts within the Commonwealth. Learn more about the Foundation and its projects by perusing the VASWCD website at





Teacher Tools

Your local soil and water conservation district and the VASWCD can assist with Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences and outdoor classroom opportunities, provide resources and guidance to establish an Envirothon team, share and lead girl scout patch programs, be a resource for the annual poster contest, student scholarships, Youth Conservation Camp, our volunteer Youth Leadership Institute, and much more!

Below is a list of environmental education resources the VASWCD recommends and maintains for educators. Many programs are supplemented with programs your local SWCD or the VASWCD can assist with. 

Environmental Education K-12






Pollution & Waste


Tidbits for Teachers & Students