Summer 2015 California Project WET Gazette
Volume XX, Issue IlI

Pass the Jug

“By the law of nature these things are common to mankind – the air, running water, the sea, and consequently the shores of the sea.”                               — Justinian Code, 530 AD

The title of this article is such a simple request that can only be improved upon by adding the word ‘please.’ It also brings back memories for me of kids chattering with excitement on hundreds of picnic hikes, broiling hot summer days of hard labor building and restoring trails with equally hardened high school students in summers past and vivid memories of passing around the jugs that were the water supply for all trail groups and marveling at how refreshing even warm water can be after losing so much to the elements. But, anyone who has led extended hikes with kids, labored in the yard on a hot summer day – or has been trying to maintain a home landscape or business in this time of drought – knows how ugly things can get as the water supply begins to run out. Determining who gets access to the shrinking supply and in what order becomes of the highest priority, and everyone suddenly claims or outright demands a right to the available water – and a number will include a bit of hostility as to how they will enforce that right! 

Right to water has likely been a source of contention deep in the shadows of our past with our ancestors battling over natural springs, wells and other sources of freshwater, but water rights have certainly been an issue with the expansion of permanent settlements and has been raised to a particular art form in the arid western United States – and nowhere more so than in California. We have all heard the accusations that our state does things different and one can just imagine a dusty Old West scene with a couple of steely-eyed individuals in a stare down, the Ennio Maricone soundtrack wafting through the air, as the smirking Californian of the pair makes his move, stepping aside to reveal something far more devastating than six shooters – his lawyer.

A much more modern version of this scenario has been playing out throughout the state this Spring as individuals, large corporate interests and government regulators vie to maintain or control rights to a greatly diminished supply of water. Nowhere has this played out with more drama than in the Central Valley, where hundreds of Delta property owners recentlyended a months long stare down with the State Water Resources Control Board challenging the owners’ rights to divert water from the region’s streams. Questions about water rights have also been the most common request for more information on Project WET workshop evaluation forms state since last Fall, so it is high time to take a closer look at this topic.

The Project WET activity ‘Pass the Jug’ (p: 447) is a very good place to start. As the summary of the activity states, ‘Students simulate and analyze different water rights policies to learn how water availability and people’s proximity to the resource influence how water is allocated.’  Yes, asking students to divvy up a bag of candy of limited quantity will definitely start an argument over fairness as intended in the activity Warm-Up, but I personally don’t like to use this option. Engaging students in the activity ‘The Long Haul’ (p: 273) immediately before ‘Pass the Jug’ on a warm day will not only spark their desire for water, but will add another layer of context from the days before indoor home plumbing to understand the origin of water rights. A large jug of water and cups are all you need to replace the candy and begin the discussion on how water should be allocated to the group – students will be more than happy to take as much water from the jug as possible after the physical exertion for Part I of ‘Pass the Jug’ after enduring the physical exertion involved in moving water in ‘The Long Haul’!

‘Pass the Jug’ begins by passing a jug of water from the ‘source’ – the teacher – at the front of the group back to the students farthest from the source. Students near the source take all the water they need and drinking it to quench their thirst is simulating the use of that water on their property, which is the basis of a riparian water right, where a landowner whose property borders a river has a right to use water from that river on his or her land. It is this proximity to the water source – and the caveat the water is to be only used on the owner’s property.

Unlike riparian rights that are tied to a property and its proximity to a water source, appropriative water rights are based on the prior appropriation doctrine of ‘first in time, first in right.’ This is simulated in Part II of ‘Pass the Jug’ by having students organize themselves by birth date from oldest to youngest to determine who gets access to the water first. As the term ‘appropriate’ implies, the water right allows the holder to take physical control of the water and move it wherever the right holder determines it is need – the right is not tied to a property and the right itself can be sold.

Part II of ‘Pass the Jug’ also assigns the students roles to simulate a water users moving into an area over time and having them analyze the implications the appropriative rights system could have on new businesses needing water, but are last in line for rights. The wrap-up section of the activity indicates it, but I’d suggest making a point of asking students to consider if the riparian system is any different and how it would affect the same scenario. The activity component of ‘Pass the Jug’ includes a number of wonderful Extensions – as well as a Pre-K through 2 Option – and the Background section of the activity as a rich layer of insight to share with your students and answers the questions I’d want to know as a student of History – Where did these rights come from in the first place?  Are they the only rights on water? And how have the rights been applied through time?  

Riparian water rights derive from English Common Law and spread west as the United States expanded – they are a direct link back to the original colonies. Riparian rights are generally considered the most senior water right and work well where water is generally abundant. By contrast, appropriative rights derived from mining customs – specifically from the California Gold Rush. When the placer gold ran out, miners began diverting water from their mining claims to process gold-bearing material away from the source streams. Those with the oldest claims were the first in right to divert the water from the water source – setting a precedent or legal tradition that became formalized in the 1914 California Water Commission Act, which centralized appropriative water right records at the state level under what is now the State Water Resources Control Board. Under the act, the state required new appropriators to obtain a permit from the state prior to diverting water. It is the conflict between the State’s authority under appropriative rights to transfer water through the Central Valley and Delta and the riparian rights of landowners adjacent to that flow of water that lies at the heart of the current challenge to landowner water rights in the Delta and Central Valley.

Pueblo Rights are not discussed in ‘Pass the Jug,’ but a number of California cities that originated as Spanish or Mexican pueblos possess this right, which gives them a paramount right to the beneficial use of all needed, naturally occurring surface and subsurface water from the entire watershed of the stream flowing through the original pueblo. Water use under a pueblo right must occur within the modern city limits, and excess water may not be sold outside the city. The quantity of water available for use under a pueblo right increases with population and with extensions of city limits by annexation of land not within the original pueblo.

The pueblo water right was a key to the development of modern Los Angeles. Founded as a pueblo in 1781, Los Angeles aggressively asserted its pueblo rights to its namesake river and even to groundwater in the San Fernando Valley. The pueblo water right supplied much of Los Angeles’ water until completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. Pueblo rights date back to California’s transition from Mexican to American territory in 1848. At that time, pueblo rights were the first to receive legal recognition in California. This allowed persons and entities holding land title under Mexican law to preserve their private and public water rights. Because pueblo rights predate other kinds of water rights recognized after statehood, cities that possess pueblo rights have rights that are generally superior, or paramount to riparian and appropriative rights. Most prominently, the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego have pueblo rights recognized by judicial decisions.

Our legal system in California is derived from English Common Law, but includes elements of Civil Law due to our Spanish past. Whereas Civil Law is founded on a codified set of laws, Common Law is based on legal precedents and tradition, where one law can be trumped by another with a longer legal precedent. Thus, after buying up the oldest water rights in the Owens Valley and aggressively asserting the appropriative right to transfer water from the Owens Valley, the City of Los Angeles continued to gain rights to transfer water as far north as the streams feeding Mono Lake. Citizens grew concerned about the drop in Mono Lake water levels, but due to the age of Los Angeles’ right to transfer water, not even the laws of the old west could slow the transfer – It took a Roman Emperor to do it. In order to bring order to the legal system, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian the Great ordered the codification of Roman Law in the 6th Century. Among those codified rules is the public trust doctrine, which recognizes the public right to many natural resources including “the air, running water, the sea and its shore.” Public trust doctrine requires the sovereign or state to hold in trust designated resources for the benefit of the people. In 1983, the California Supreme Court ruled that reasonable and beneficial uses of water must be interpreted in accordance with public trust needs and ended 40 years of unrestrained water diversions from Mono Lake streams.

The Mono Lake decision was the first case in California where the public trust doctrine was applied. The decision also held that the state retains jurisdiction over the water rights and may reconsider the impact on public trust, which in addition to the traditional commerce, navigation and fishing, includes wildlife habitat. The necessity of protecting the public trust was to be determined by balancing the value and cost of in stream water needs against the benefits and costs of diversions, which very blends with language in the 1928 California Constitution, Article 10, § 2 that the caveat that the right to use water must be based on “reasonable and beneficial use.“  Of course, defining ‘reasonable and beneficial use’ and its use in applying the Public Trust Doctrine lay at the center of many California water rights issues currently in the news– i.e., the Delta tunnels, regulation of senior water rights, tiered water rates, groundwater regulations and the reprioritization of water allocations to various user groups based on the most beneficial use as determined by regulating agencies. I have included links to recent articles in each of these areas in the ‘Websites of Interest’ section of this Gazette and updates can be found on the Water Education Foundation website.

 Water rights are featured in a number of other Project WET activities and the added information above and found in the ‘Websites of Interest’ of this Gazette can add a rich, local layer to engage students in learning about water rights and allocation in our state. Students analyze the results of a simulation to understand that water is a shared resource in the activity ‘Common Water’ (p: 249). Ranking water use helps students define their values on water and its uses – essentially defining ‘reasonable and beneficial use’ – in the Guide 1.0 activity ‘Choices and Preferences, Water Index’ (Portal), which was the subject of the Spring 2014 Gazette.  ‘Choices and Preferences’ pairs well with ‘8-4-1, One For All’ (p: 299), which has students analyzing ‘eight water users, four common water needs and one river to serve them all,’ which a number of us extend to have communities of users in each category looking at that activity from the viewpoint of northern California, Delta, San Joaquin and Southern California water users… just think of the potential discussion if knowledge of water rights was added to the discussion! 

The same can be said for adding a discussion of water rights to ‘Get the Groundwater Picture’ (p: 143), an activity featuring a major cone of depression in the aquifer data that opens the door for an extended discussion on the issue of subsidence and the new groundwater law. And what about the news of communities in California that have run out of water or are unable to use their water due to the actions of nature or their neighbors – Is the freedom to have clean, ample water an ‘inalienable right?’ This is the very question posed and studied by students in ‘Water Bill of Rights’ (Portal). Of course, we all know many of these conflicts will end up right where the Old West character who took on our Californian did at the start of this article – in ‘Water Court’ (Portal), an original Project WET guide activity that takes students through the process of mediation and litigation that are used to resolve water issues. The first two of the generic cases students analyze in the activity are on water rights and riparian ownership of land!

Battling over water rights is a fact of life in the arid west, but nowhere has it achieved the level of complexity as it has in the Mediterranean climate of California – and this Gazette article only highlights a few of the primary, overarching rules that govern the right to use water in our state. The Project WET activities above will help jump start student understanding of water rights concepts and investigation of current issues surrounding how the resource is allocated issues with students, but please visit the ‘Websites of Interest’ below for additional resources and links to the world of water law in California. Of course, after a busy school year one also needs to take the time to regenerate and you’ll find a number of potential ‘Events’ to enjoy. Finally, summer is a good time to catch some wonderful trainings and you’ll find a full list of upcoming Project WET Special Events, Workshops and other ‘Professional Development Opportunities’ listed in this Gazette and on this webpage!


Water Education Foundation   

Keep up to date on current water right issues in California news through our Aquafornia news aggregator, learn more about water rights terminology and the vocabulary applies in water right issues and learn more on the history of California water rights. 

California Water Rights Primer

Society grants property owners rights to use water, not to possess or hoard it. Legal water use also entails specific obligations. Water rights holders must not adversely affect the rights of other legal water users or harm the environment. Water shortages make the obscure issues of water policy and law a public concern. It is an adage among water law attorneys that water rights become social policy during droughts.

The Water Rights Process

A water right is a legal entitlement authorizing water to be diverted from a specified source and put to beneficial, non-wasteful use. Water rights are property rights, but their holders do not own the water itself. They possess the right to use it. You can view an outline of California water rights in relation to the Public Trust Doctrine here.

The Common Law and Civil Law Traditions

Most nations today follow one of two major legal traditions: common law or civil law. The common law tradition emerged in England during the Middle Ages and was applied within British colonies across continents. The civil law tradition developed in continental Europe at the same time and was applied in the colonies of European imperial powers such as Spain and Portugal. 

California Water Rights

A map for citizens who seek a comprehensive comparison of water usage in our state. This interactive map overlays points of diversion (water rights) from data collected by the State Water Resources Control Board, and daily stream gauge values maintained by the U.S. Geographical Survey. 

Groundwater Law

Today, against the backdrop of California’s overall water supply challenges, debate has begun to focus on groundwater. How it should be managed and whether it becomes part of overarching state regulation is a topic of contention.

Article: ‘California faces a tough test to tame its unquenchable thirst for water’

In the fourth year of the most severe drought in state history, Californians are finally starting to turn away from arcane rules and practices that have allowed them nearly unlimited use of water since the era of the Gold Rush. “We have a 21st-century water problem with 19th-century infrastructure, and . . . hundred-year-old water laws and water rights allocation.”

Article: ‘Farmers’ ’senior’ water rights under siege’

A 143-year-old piece of paper proves that Rudy Mussi has a legal right to water from the gently meandering Middle River that nourishes his family farm. But the same piece of paper — a “certificate of purchase,” signed in florid 19th-century handwriting and faded to near illegibility — also is proof to a growing number of critics that California has outgrown its water rights system.

Article: ‘As California drought worsens, experts urge water reforms’

As mandatory water restrictions took effect Monday across California, a panel of experts called upon the drought-plagued state to upgrade its water infrastructure and reform its antiquated water rights system. With droughts in California and other western states likely to grow more frequent because of global warming, planners needed to explore new methods of water conservation.

Article: ‘Your Contribution to the California Drought’

The average American consumes more than 300 gallons of California water each week. California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. The portions of foods shown here are grown in California and represent what average Americans eat in a week. Great website to use with ‘Virtual Water’ (p: 289)!

Article: ‘Tiered Rate Ruling Forces California Water Districts To Rethink Pricing, Conservation Plans’

The ruling that found San Juan Capistrano’s water rates unconstitutional came amid a severe drought as agencies try to meet the governor’s mandate to cut water use statewide by 25 percent. The 4th District Court of Appeal said charging heavy users incrementally more per gallon without showing it cost more violated a 1996 voter-approved law that prohibits government agencies from overcharging for services. Sounds like a great scenario to use with the activity ‘Water Court’ (Portal).

Article: ‘California water officials deliver sobering facts on depleted wells’

More than half of the dry wells are in Tulare County, southeast of Fresno, state officials said. Most of the dry wells there are within the community of East Porterville, where hundreds of residents have gone without running water and volunteers have delivered emergency supplies. In much of the San Joaquin Valley, growers have been sucking more water from the ground than nature or man has put back for decades. But the over pumping has escalated during recent years of drought. This article can bring a dose of current reality to discussing the cone of depression students discover in Part III of ‘Get the Groundwater Picture’ (p: 143).

Article: ‘Owens Valley ranchers and environmentalists brought together by drought’

The drought has worked a miracle in the Owens Valley, as environmental activists and ranchers have buried decades of enmity to forge a plan to save ranch land — at the expense of hard-fought environmental protections. The two sides began talking after the DWP announced plans last month to slash irrigation allotments for half of Inyo County’s 50 ranches.

California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom

This year’s edition of our student newspaper What’s Growin’ On? is titled ‘Let’s Look at Water’ and is inspired by this precious resource. Use these pages to learn about the water cycle, how we get our water, how we use it, and its importance to the environment and every aspect of our lives. Visit our website to review the newspaper and to receive FREE class sets while supplies last!

Save Our Water

Save Our Water is a statewide program aimed at helping Californians reduce their everyday water use. The program offers ideas and inspiration for permanently reducing water use – regardless of whether California is in a drought. Browse our website to uncover ideas on saving water indoors and out. We can all make a difference in California’s water use by making simple changes to our daily habits.

USGS: California Drought 

The US Geological Survey California Water Science Center closely monitors the effects of drought through data collection and research, and is studying the current drought in the context of long-term hydrologic, climatic, and environmental changes. These studies support successful planning and science-based decision-making by water managers who must address complex issues and competing interests in times of drought. They also and help decision-makers prepare for climate change and possible future drought.


California Project WET Workshops

The California Project WET program and our sponsors are eager to assist in supporting local professional development and water education outreach efforts. Our volunteer network of workshop Facilitators have been hard at work designing and organizing workshops for the upcoming season.  You’ll find a full list here! We also have a number of content specific institutes coming up this summer that can be viewed here.

USACE Simulated Water Management (SWM) Model Training

MIDDLE and HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS! Are you looking for models that allow your students to manipulate variables and study the outcomes based on real-life scenarios? The US Army Corps of Engineers has developed just such a model and are looking for opportunities to work with you at an in-service day or workshop time that works best for you. If you would like to schedule or attend a training for using the SWM Model, please contact Hunter Merritt or Melissa Hallas at the US Army Corps of Engineers in Sacramento.

Summer EE Teacher Training 

This summer you can come to Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School near San Luis Obispo and get trained in Project WET, Project WILD, Project Learning Tree and EEI. Participants will receive all four of these curriculum guides, a $100 stipend, plus $100 discount on any school program offered by Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School. CEUs are also available. Breakfast and lunch are included.

Project Learning Tree (PLT) Schoolyard Habitat Training

This 1-day workshop on June 30, 2015 begins at 9 a.m. at Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and then heads to Alice Birney Schoolyard Habitat, ending at 3 p.m. It focuses on activities from the Project Learning Tree curriculum guide that can be done in a schoolyard habitat. This training is recommended for schools that already have a project in the ground, as well as schools in the planning stages. Participants that attend will be eligible to apply for PLT’s Greenworks and Greenschools grants.

Next Generation Science in the Garden Workshop

Let’s head outside and put earth and life back into Earth and Life Science! Using activities from the award-winning Life Lab Science curriculum, learn to use a garden as a meaningful context in which students can engage in Next Generation Science and Engineering Practices to examine Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross-Cutting Concepts. 1 semester of graduate education credit available. Grades K-5.

Tuolumne River Institute

The UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences invites you on a 3-day raft trip and multidisciplinary study of the Tuolumne River. Have fun on the river while working with UC Davis scientists. Learn field data collection methods. Learn about water delivery systems as well as current ecology research related to climate change and the effects of the Rim Fire. Come home prepared to lead your students in assessing your local watershed and share information about careers in scientific research and natural resources. Link below will take you to the application. Please view the flyer for more information! 

RESTORE Institute

This July 20 -24, 2015 training will bring you step by step how to create a successful schoolyard habitat project at your school and curriculum you can use to involve your students every step of the way from design to monitoring and use. You will be connected with local experts including UC Davis, the Audubon Society, and the Native Plant Society as well as be eligible and equipped to apply for funding for your project!  You’ll take home the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide, Earth Partnership for Schools curriculum guide, classroom materials and more!

Environmental Service Learning Workshops: Summer Institute – GE/PWD

For Teachers Grades 6-12. Presented by Generation Earth. Secondary school teachers will learn how to create on-campus Environmental Service Learning projects with their students. Includes Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards and EEI connections. Teachers receive free resources, and a free bus for a project related field trip. Light breakfast and lunch included.

DELTA Studies and EEI Institute

Delta Studies is a place-based curriculum with science activities focused on the Delta region. The institute begins with a day-long bus tour of the delta, will feature activities from the EEI and Delta Studies curricula, as well as a science content speaker. An environmental education project is required in the classroom.  A stipend of $200 is awarded to those completing the institute, and one unit of credit is offered for an extra fee. Breakfast, lunch and two dinners are also provided as part of the institute.

California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI)

The EEI Curriculum is 85 K-12 grade units that teaches standards through an environmental lens, including understanding resources, conservation, where our food, energy, and water come from, and complicated decision-making processes related to climate change, green chemistry, and use of public lands. California examples make learning relevant, connecting students’ learning to the communities they live in, and stimulating their involvement with the world around them. Click here to view a list of correlating Project WET activities to use with individual EEI units and here to take an EEI training!

UC California Naturalist Program

The California Naturalist Program promotes environmental literacy and stewardship through discovery and action. The 40+ hour California Naturalist course combines classroom and field experience in science, problem-solving, communication training and community service. Students are taught by an instructor and team of experts who are affiliated with a local nature-based center or natural resource focused agency. Participants are eligible for four academic through UC Davis Extension. A great course to expand knowledge and skills at the core of many Project WET activities!

CREEC Network  

The California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC), administered by the California Department of Education, is an on-line hub offering a searchable database of for a variety of resources, including professional development, field trip and grant opportunities from over 500 informal education providers across the state. Click on your region, then search the events calendar to find a wonderful array of environment based professional development opportunities!


June 6 – 14, 2015 – California Invasive Species Action Week

The goal of the California Invasive Species Action Week is to increase public awareness of invasive species issues and promote public participation in the fight against California’s invasive species and their impacts on our natural resources. Prevention is the most effective strategy in managing invasive species. Help us celebrate California’s Invasive Species Action Week, and more importantly, help stop the spread of invasive species, by volunteering to take action. 

July 4, 2015 – California Free Fishing Day

Have you ever felt the excitement of watching your bobber suddenly jiggle, then dive out of sight? Or feeling the tap-tap-tap of a bass as it tastes the worm on the end of your line? Or having a salmon practically tear the rod out of your hands as it smashes your lure? What’s that? If you are new to the sport of fishing, CDFW offers two Free Fishing Days each year. For more information, please visit our website. 

August 25, 2015 – National Park Service Birthday: Free Entrance Day

Celebrate ‘America’s Best Idea’ by visiting your National Parks – FOR FREE! Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise. Learn about discounts and special offers from park partners and neighboring businesses. 

September 5, 2015 – California Free Fishing Day

Had a great July 4th, but missed a chance to fish for free on the 5th?  Well here is another opportunity! Some CDFW Regions offer a Fishing in the City program where you can go fishing in the middle of major metropolitan areas perhaps just a few blocks from your home. For more information, please visit our website.

September 18, 2015 – World Water Monitoring Challenge

World Water Monitoring Challenge™ (WWMC) is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. Find more information and great resources on our website.

September 19, 2015 – California Coastal Cleanup Day

Sixty to eighty percent of the debris on our beaches and shorelines originates from inland‐based sources, traveling through storm drains, creeks, or rivers to the beaches and ocean. In 2014, 66,844 volunteers picked up 1,085,505 pounds of trash and an additional 104,559 pounds of recyclable materials! Click here for more information on how you alone or with your students can participate in California Coastal Cleanup Day. 

September 19 – October 11, 2015 – COASTWEEKS 2015

This celebration is a great way to expand your outreach and to participate in a nation-wide effort to encourage appreciation and preservation of our coast and inland waterways. We encourage you to post events from throughout the state – not just along the coast – in COASTWEEKS calendar, which will go online August 24, 2015. Please do not submit Coastal Cleanup Day cleanup events to COASTWEEKS, as they will be publicized on their own page. 

September 26, 2015 – National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands in the United States. NPLD educates Americans about critical environmental and natural resource issues and the need for shared stewardship of these valued, irreplaceable lands, while building partnerships between the public sector and the local community to enhance and restore America’s public lands. Click here for more information.

September 26, 2015 – Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

Celebrate National Public Lands Day with free entrance to a local National Park! Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise. 

October 2-4, 2015 – California Science Education Conference

CSTA returns to Sacramento for the 2015 California Science Education Conference! The conference features the perfect mix of hands-on, one-hour workshops, engaging lectures from professional scientists and university-level educators, in-depth three- and six-hour courses, one-of-a-kind field course experiences, and quality networking opportunities that are only possible when meeting face-to-face. Please visit our website to register and learn more about the conference.

October 11-17, 2015 – Earth Science Week 2015

Take part in Earth Science Week 2015! “Visualizing Earth Systems,” is the 2015 theme. Using technologies ranging from on-site data collection to satellite-based remote sensing, scientists investigate conditions of Earth systems. And today’s geoscientists display their findings in charts, graphs, diagrams, illustrations, photos, videos, computer-generated animations, and 3D-printed creations. With this theme, Earth Science Week explores what it means to see our planet through eyes informed by the geosciences. Order your Earth Science Week toolkits now!


Save the Redwoods League - Deadline: August 7, 2015

We are now accepting applications for our Education Grants Program. The League grants funds to schools, park associations and other qualified nonprofits that provide redwood education. Our grant program aims to foster a deeper understanding of redwoods among a diverse audience through visits to the forest and other educational experiences.

Toshiba America Foundation Grant: 6 – 12 - Deadline: August 1, 2015

Toshiba America Foundation’s mission is to provide teachers with additional funds to support classroom projects. After school, summer projects, and independent study projects are not eligible. The Foundation strongly encourages projects planned and led by individual teachers or teams of teachers for their own classrooms. Science and math teachers in public or private (non-profit) schools may apply for grants to support classroom science and math education. Endorsement from a school official is required.

Target Field Trip Grants – Deadline: September 30, 2015

Some of the best learning opportunities happen outside the classroom, but tt’s become increasingly difficult for schools to fund learning opportunities outside the classroom. To help schools out, we launched Field Trip Grants in 2007. Since then, we’ve made it possible for millions of students to go on a field trip. Target stores award Field Trip Grants to K-12 schools nationwide. Each grant is valued up to $700. We accept grant applications between noon CST Aug. 1 and noon CST Sept. 30.

Captain Planet Foundation - Deadline: September 30, 2015

Grants are made for activities that promote and support high-quality educational programs, enable children and youth to understand and appreciate our world through learning experiences and engage them in active, hands-on projects to improve the environment in their schools and communities.  CPF grants are limited to $2,500 and preferential consideration is given to applicants who have secured at least 50% matching or in-kind funding for their program.

GreenWorks! Grants - Deadline: September 30, 2015

GreenWorks! is the service-learning component of Project Learning Tree that provides grants to PLT trained educators to help implement environmental improvement projects with students. By blending comunity service with the academic curriculum, students are “learning by doing.” Some examples of past projects include habitat restoration, watershed improvement, school gardens, outdoor classrooms, recycling and energy conservation.

Toshiba America Foundation Grant: K – 5 - Deadline: October 1, 2015

Toshiba America Foundation’s mission is to provide teachers with additional funds to support classroom projects. After school, summer projects, and independent study projects are not eligible. The Foundation strongly encourages projects planned and led by individual teachers or teams of teachers for their own classrooms. Any K-5 teacher in a public or private (not-for-profit) school is eligible for a grant to support science or math education up to $1,000 for project materials. 

Earth Science Week 2015: Photography Contest - Deadline: October 16, 2015

The Earth Science Week photography contest “Earth Systems Interacting.” is open to interested persons of any age. With a camera, you can capture evidence of the dynamic impact of change processes in your home, school, neighborhood, workplace or local public spaces. Entries must be composed of original, unpublished material, and show at least one Earth system affecting another Earth system in your community. 

Earth Science Week 2015: Visual Arts Contest - Deadline: October 16, 2015

This year’s visual arts contest,Earth’s Connected Systems and Me,” is open to students in grades K-5. How might you create a picture that illustrates Earth systems affecting each other? Scientists pay special attention to the ways that these things affect each other, such as the way wind shapes the landscape or falling rain nourishes plants. These parts of the natural world can be described not only in words and numbers, but also in images. Use artwork to show how land, water, air, and living things interact in the world around you.

Earth Science Week 2015: Essay Contest - Deadline: October 16, 2015

The 2015 ESW essay contest, “Earth Science Visualization Today” is open to students in grades 6-9. “Visualization” has been an important way of explaining and understanding the interactions of land, water, air, and living things since the earliest hand-drawn maps and diagrams. Earth scientists today use more sophisticated technology to monitor and represent these Earth systems. What contemporary means of geoscience visualization do you use in your daily life? Explain one way that geoscientists’ use of cutting-edge visualization is advancing Earth science today. 

Get to Know Contest – Deadline: November 1, 2015

The Get to Know Contest runs from May 1st to November 1st and invites participants to get outside and create original works of art, writing, music, photography or videography inspired by nature. The goal is to be as creative as possible. For inspiration, check out some of the amazing programs offered by our partners. Then, get outdoors and get to know! Submit your work for a chance to win cool prizes. Get started today! 

Water Project Grants for Educators – Deadline: November 14, 2015

Western Municipal Water District offers educators in western Riverside County the opportunity to apply for grants for water-related projects. Grants up to $700 help fund creative classroom projects that further a better understanding of water and the vital role it plays in the community. All teachers in Western’s District, in both private and public schools in grades K -12, are eligible to apply for these grants. Please visit our website for more information.

Community Partnering Program - On-going

The primary focus of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Community Partnering Program (CPP) is sponsorship of water conservation and water-use efficiency programs and activities. It provides sponsorships for community-based organizations including nonprofit groups, professional associations, educational institutions and public agencies. Requests for a maximum $2,000 award will be reviewed year-round and funds are awarded throughout the year.

USFWS Schoolyard Habitat Program - On-going

The Schoolyard Habitat Program helps teachers and students create a naturalized wildlife habitat for classroom field studies and observations. We work with your school to provide: technical assistance and project guidance, teacher training, and develop written materials. Up to $8000 per school is available for projects that meet funding requirements. Preference will be given to schools that have a team of teachers and school community members who have a clear vision for the project and have taken schoolyard habitat training.

Adopt-A-Classroom Grants - On-going is a national nonprofit that pairs donors with teachers to provide critical resources and materials to meet the unique needs of their students. When a classroom receives a donation, 100 percent of the funds are immediately made available to the teacher through an online credit. Teachers can use those funds to shop online for classroom supplies from a network of more than 40 vendors on; the supplies they choose are delivered directly to the teacher’s school. Donors receive personal feedback from the teacher about the impact of their donation.

The Coca-Cola Foundation – On-going

The Coca-Cola Company and its philanthropic arm, The Coca-Cola Foundation, aim to make a greater impact on the communities we serve around the world by being responsive to the citizenship priorities of the communities in which we live and work. Our community investment priorities reflect the global and local nature of our business and focuses on those global pillars where The Coca-Cola Company can make a unique and sustainable difference: water stewardship, active healthy living, community recycling and education.


California Project WET Gazette is published by the Water Education Foundation, which serves as the state coordinator for Project WET USA, a program of the Project WET Foundation.

Editor: Brian Brown, California Project WET Coordinator

Water Education Foundation
1401 21st Street, Suite 200  
Sacramento, CA 95811

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