Addressing Agricultural Practices and Water Quality Issues through Youth-Developed Decision Cases
The objectives of this project for students included learning about community water quality and conservation issues by developing decision cases and presenting the case studies to the community in a forum to encourage awareness and discourse related to solutions to water quality problems.
Upon completion of this project youth will:
1) Learn about community water quality and conservation issues and the impact that agriculture and specific agricultural issues have on the Minnesota River by developing cases related to these issues,
2) Impact real-world problems by facilitating community forums based on decision cases, and
3) Seek cooperation and constructive solutions to complex water quality problems.
The local community will benefit from:
1) Links established between youth, community members and decision-makers,
2) Increased civic involvement among the broader community about water quality issues, and
3) Improved understanding of the options available to farmers with regard to enhancing water quality.
With the assistance of Extension Educators and teachers, students explored how farm management practices impacted water quality in their communities by gathering data and writing decision case studies in high school science classes. Materials were developed for teachers to use in the classroom to facilitate the development of decision cases and community forums.
Teachers were recruited and cases were developed in year 1 with pre/post tests used to assess impact on student attitude and behavior. Additional classrooms have been recruited for year 2 and additional cases are being developed. Results from year 1 will be combined with results from year 2 and reported in the final report for this project. Results related to impacts from community forums conducted in year 2 will also be included in the final report.
Potential contributions include changes in attitude and behavior of youth and community members related to intent to reduce water pollution and a willingness to be involved in solutions to water quality problems.