The Confluence Project (TCP) is a partnership model of environmental education developed by the University of Idaho (UI)’s Waters of the West (WoW) program. The primary goals of TCP are to improve science education in urban, rural and tribal areas of Idaho and to build community capacity to protect and restore local water resources.
The Confluence Project is a year-long, place-based, hand’s on water science education model implemented in North Idaho high schools by the University of Idaho, IDH2O program, IDEQ, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and KEA. The TCP program targets 10th – 12th-grade students and teachers in northern Idaho.
The fall 2019 – summer 2020 TCP program is being implemented in 10 area high schools (Coeur d’Alene, Kellogg, Lake City, Lakeland, Lakeside, Paradise Creek Regional, St. Maries, Timberlake, Venture & Wallace) and works with at least one teacher in each school and approximately 400 students across all schools. The schools are located in diverse communities with strong economic, historical, and cultural ties to natural resources and the environment through timber, mining, agriculture, or lake- and river-based recreation.
TCP uses a variety of delivery methods to reach our students, including a summer workshop for teachers, field experiences paired with in-class lessons, and a year-end Youth Water Summit involving all TCP entities and supporters. This environmental education program increases our local students’ ability to think critically and strengthens their capacity to understand real-world issues such as; climate change, water use, and conservation, stewardship of natural resources and other local and global environmental issues that affect us all and transcend classroom walls!
Students learn to critically analyze and propose basin-wide solutions to local water resource issues. Jamie Esler, a program participant and Idaho’s Teacher of the Year 2014, excitedly summarized TCP as a program that “integrates outdoor learning, citizen science, and technology in the classroom to build environmental literacy and stewardship for Idaho’s beautiful wild places.”
The TCP program is currently conducting water quality field trips and planning for snow science field trips. These outings will take place all fall and winter long and we need volunteers!