The Yuba Water Agency was recognized last week by the California Association of Science Educators with a distinguished contribution award for its leadership in Yuba River watershed education through its watershed curriculum project.

The project is meant to promote stewardship and awareness of the region’s water and natural resources.

“We’re honored to receive this recognition and grateful for the many partners who have helped shape our education program into what it is today,” said Willie Whittlesey, Yuba Water’s general manager, in an agency news release. “We hope these efforts will expand opportunities for Yuba County students and inspire them, instilling a life-long appreciation for the incredible natural resources we have in our backyard.”

The watershed curriculum developed by Yuba Water Agency began in 2020 with 45 teachers who received training on the Yuba River watershed and how to create lessons that meet California Next Generation Science Standards.

Teachers developed more than 175 Yuba River-focused lessons in science and other subject areas covering grades K-12 and several community college lessons, according to the release.

“This award is really for all the Yuba County teachers who added one extra thing to their already very full plates last year and worked so hard to develop the new curriculum and test it out in their classrooms,” said DeDe Cordell, Yuba Water’s communications manager and lead on the curriculum project.

The agency is currently preparing more teachers to implement these lessons in their classrooms and refine the curriculum before being shared countywide. This curriculum was designed to be paired with a planned watershed experience center where students will be able to participate in hands-on, experiential learning. The center is currently in the master planning process, according to the release.

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