By David Gershon
“Creating watershed stewardship teams has been a powerful outreach tool for our community. It has been exciting to observe the teams in action as they complete projects in their homes, yards, and neighborhoods. In addition, I was struck by the program’s ability to successfully attract Team Leaders. Team Leaders, in turn, indicated the program provided them multiple benefits including the leadership skills of coaching, group facilitation, project management and community organizing.”
— Elenor Hodges, Executive Director, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, Arlington County, Virginia
This workbook contains 32 behavior change actions, action plans and lifestyle assessments for each of three topics: water quality, water conservation and community volunteering and advocacy.
A foundation for the success of any local government or watershed organization involved in watershed protection is reducing household non point source pollution. Indeed, having an effective education and outreach program has now become a necessity for communities affected by US EPA’s Phase II NPDES Storm Water Requirements. Local governments and Watershed organizations need tools that move citizens beyond awareness to behavior change.
What people are saying:
“My team of neighbors joined for a wide variety of reasons. One teammate decided to join because ‘the program was so well laid out and fun, why wouldn’t I want to join?’ Another teammate was very interested in the individual actions that he could take. A third teammate said she wanted to take water stewardship actions, and that the support network would help her follow through. Our team rated getting to know each other better very highly. We also felt a strong desire to help out with other issues, so we contacted the Department of Transportation about a water retention pond near us that was not working properly.”
— Stacey Churchill
“Our team consisted of a condominium complex. We all really enjoyed the program and thought it was very worthwhile. We got to know each other while learning about things we could do right now to have a positive impact on our watershed. As the head of the Grounds Keeping Committee, I was able to instruct the grounds keeping crew to discontinue using pesticides and herbicides, start composting, and cut the grass higher.”
— Sandy Tarpinian
“Our river conservation group has struggled for years to develop an effective way to engage and motivate citizens in non point pollution control activities. The Water Stewardship program is the first tool we have found that really works. The Program’s focus on neighbor-to-neighbor interaction, along with its highly structured approach makes it much more than just another book with good ideas. We believe this program holds great promise for helping communities achieve quantitative pollution reduction.”
— John Tippett, Executive Director, Friends of the Rappahannock
“Measuring the impact of outreach is a challenge, especially for local governments whose budgets are often limited. Empowerment Institute’s Water Stewardship Program has allowed us to track exactly what changes people made in their lifestyle, and estimate the pollution reduction that results from those changes. It’s definitely an exciting new tool for behavioral change.”
— Aileen Winquist, Environmental Planner, Arlington Country Department of Environmental Services