Forests to Faucets is an annual continuing education teacher workshop conducted by Aurora Water and the Aurora Parks, Recreation & Open Space Department. Designed to provide Aurora teachers with an in-depth education about water and water-related issues, the three-day workshop takes teachers from mountain watersheds to water treatment facilities, and not only explores Aurora’s water supply system and operations, but reaffirms the importance of water pollution prevention and watershed protection.
As part of the workshop, teachers explore water-related topics from “the forest to the faucet,” such as, where the area’s water comes from, the importance of pollution prevention, how drinking water is treated, and what happens to the water when it goes down the drain. The program informs teachers about the importance of conservation, the urban watershed and making the connection between clean water and a healthy watershed.
The three-day training program is free for K-12 educators who teach in Aurora and provides an interactive curriculum to help participants bring concepts back to their classrooms. Teachers who complete the program receive 1.5 hours of graduate level re-certification credit through the Colorado School of Mines. They also receive Project Learning Tree and Water Education for Teachers curriculum guides. The City of Aurora Water and Parks staff facilitates the program and funding for the workshop and college credit is provided by Aurora Water.
Over the past twelve years the teacher training has allowed Aurora Water to build relationships with Aurora area teachers, and has greatly increased participation in other Aurora Water Youth Education Outreach programs; particularly increasing classroom presentations by Aurora Water and participation by Aurora students in pollution prevention service learning projects, and community events such as the Highline Canal Clean Up and the Household Chemical Roundup.
During the 2016-2017 school year, Youth Education Outreach programs reached over 13,000 students. Teachers who have attended the Forests to Faucets workshop continue to call about future programming opportunities. They not only teach water curriculum in their classrooms but consistently and confidently invite Aurora Water into their schools as presenters each year. Teachers confirm that this workshop is very educational and valuable for their work.
In 2018, Forests to Faucets was awarded a NACWA National Environmental Achievement Award.