About Us


Water Outreach Education – Facilitating Access to Resources and Best Practices (BEPs)

is a collaborative effort of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) and other public and private clean and safe water partners to:

  • Identify Best Education Practices (BEPs).
  • Promote the use of BEPs for water-management education.
  • Improve access to education resources and strategies.

The project is conducted by staff of the University of Wisconsin, Environmental Resources Center (ERC), under the guidance of a project advisory team of natural resource management, outreach, and education professionals from across the country: Elaine L. Andrews, Principal Investigator.

Project funds were provided by the USDA/CSREES National Program Office for Water Quality.

More about the purpose of this project

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Increase Citizen Involvement Using Target Audience Information

Applying education tools and techniques found on the Water Outreach Education web pages can help natural resource professionals and agencies realize their water management goals. Resources created for the Changing Public Behavior National Facilitation Project focus on the application of social science tools to enhance the education process.

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Water Outreach Project Description

The Water Outreach Education project works in collaboration with the federal agency clean and safe water partnership and other networks to develop and promote best education practices (BEPs) for water education and to improve access to education resources and strategies. Our goal is to increase public understanding and involvement in community decision-making about water issues through improved education practices and improved access to education resources. Project activities reflect advice provided by federal agency clean and safe water partners and a national network of water education organizations created and supported by the work of several national organizations over the last decade.

Project Activities

To help natural resource professionals choose appropriate educational techniques and resources, familiar sources must provide access. But, sources must also provide evidence that education is valued. BEP Project activities involve:

1) Building the Case for Value

  • Best Education Practices: Study of Provider Needs
  • Model Education Techniques
  • Synthesis of Significant Research: The BEP Decision Tree
  • Literature Search for Audience-Specific BEPs

2) Organizing a System for Access: BEP Pilot Web Site Development.

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Project Partners

Project partners provided advice and resources, helped shape project goals, and evaluated the Water Outreach Education pilot web site and products. They also provided networking communications and advice about the interests of the professionals they work with in education.

Partners for the Water Outreach Education Project include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), two national nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), a state department of natural resources, and Cooperative Extension in California, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin. EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds, http://www.epa.gov/owow/

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Project Updates

2004 Symposium: Best Education Practices (BEPs) for Water Outreach Professionals

University of Wisconsin – Madison, June 2-4, 2004

We convened a Symposium in 2004 to build knowledge among natural resources agencies and professionals that the application of BEPs in outreach efforts is an effective tool for accomplishing water management objectives. This Report and Proceedings describes the Symposium and the lessons learned about best practices in water outreach and education.

2004 Symposium Proceedings

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2005 Symposium: Best Education Practices for Water Quality

USDA/CSREES National Water Quality Conference, Feb. 9, 2005, 1:30 – 5 PM

The purpose of the 2005 Symposium was to focus on successes and recommendations for work with underserved audiences. These new, audience-specific recommendations were added to those developed by water outreach educators from around the United States who attended a June 2004 Symposium held at the University of Wisconsin. Findings contribute to our studies of target audience strategies and help to identify future activities.

See the 2005 Symposium description and agenda.

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