Water Center in VT Daily News: VWRRC as Leader in Education and Outreach

The Virginia Water Center was featured in a VT Daily News Story: “Virginia Water Center recognized as a national leader in water education and outreach.”

Excerpt from the article:

“For the first time, the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, housed at Virginia Tech, received a status of “outstanding” from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Virginia’s Water Center was one of 12 such centers in the nation to receive this designation.

“The water center operates as something of a clearinghouse and a focal point for water education, outreach, and research at Virginia Tech,” explained Professor Stephen Schoenholtz, director of the Virginia Water Center and a faculty member in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. “We’re an independent, nonsiloed place to foster and promote research on water issues across a wide range of areas.”

 “Engagement and outreach have been a big focus for our center over the last decade,” Schoenholtz said. “We aim to provide unbiased information for water resource management decisions that are being made at the state, regional, and national level.”

Among the center’s outreach efforts is a database of breaking water news stories, water-related legislation decisions and documents, and links to information about water-related subjects pertaining to the state. The center produces Virginia Water Radio, a weekly program focusing on a specific water issue or topic of interest in Virginia. The broadcasts are tied to the Virginia Standards of Learning and can be used in K-12 classrooms throughout the state.

The center provides seed grants for undergraduate and graduate students studying water resources and funds an internship program for undergraduate students at Virginia Tech. This spring, two interns traveled with Schoenholtz to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal policymakers to discuss water issues affecting Virginia. The center also led Virginia Tech in developing a unique undergraduate degree program in water: resources, policy, and management, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to water science, management, and policy.

Looking ahead, Schoenholtz would like to increase student training and expand grant opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Discussions are also underway about offering master’s and doctoral degrees in water science.

“Water issues range from very local, affecting individual households, to global scales that affect everyone, and those challenges are only going to increase in the face of climate change and growing population,” Schoenholtz noted. “With the Virginia Water Center, we have a wide range of possibilities to address these challenges while working to keep the public aware of the numerous resources available to them.”

Written by David Fleming

Read full article HERE.

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