Iowa is in the heart of the Mississippi River watershed and plays an important role in managing nutrients and water quality. Now teachers and other educators can learn about water quality and how science can help manage soil nutrients like nitrates through a new graduate course offered by the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.
The online course will offer two graduate credits from Drake University, Morningside College or Viterbo University through AEA PD Online. The course, The Science of Protecting Water Quality, will begin Feb. 4 and run through April 8. It will train teachers to apply STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) concepts in their classrooms.
The course is targeted toward middle and high school science teachers and agriculture teachers but is open all teachers interested in the subject or interested in expanding their science base. The course is also being offered for teacher license renewal credit.
Soil, water and nutrient management
Jeff Kingland took the course in the fall of 2018. “I enjoyed the class and learned a lot about best practices for farming and how it impacts us all,” he says. “As I drive, I find myself looking at the surrounding farm fields and evaluating how they are being farmed.”
Will Fett, executive director of the Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation, is the course instructor. “Water quality is a complicated topic,” he notes. “Teachers will learn how soil affects nutrients and how landowners can implement practices to improve water quality. Iowa is a leader in growing crops like corn and soybeans and to continue with that success means protecting our water and soil resources.”
The course is based on water quality and agriculture lessons that were developed through a partnership with the Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program. The lessons were aligned to the Iowa Core Science Standards as well as the National Agriculture Literacy Outcomes, says Fett.
The course addresses the water cycle, the nitrogen cycle, soil structure, cover cropping systems, runoff management, riparian area management, bioreactors, buffer zones, no-till farming, terracing, tiling and water erosion.
Educators interested in signing up for the class can find the registration information in the AEA PD Online professional development catalog online Space is limited to the first 20 registrations.
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