Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency

The Science of Protecting Water Quality

This course is being offered by AEA PD Online, a joint initiative by all of Iowa's Area Education Agencies. This course therefore uses AEA PD Online's alternative fee schedule for license renewal and graduate credit. Transcripts and credit will be issued by AEA PD Online.

This is a two-credit online course for teachers, extension personnel, and others who educate youth and adult audiences about water quality, science, and agriculture. The course requires a minimum of 30 hours online, plus an additional 60 hours of reading, writing, experimentation, or research/discovery. Through a solutions-oriented approach, course participants will be introduced to the issues of water quality in the Midwest including sediment and nitrates. The course will look at practices that land owners are currently using to improve water quality including no-till farming, cover crops, terracing, tiling, bioreactors, buffer strips, and riparian areas. The newer practices like bioreactors are being researched and scaled up. Participants will the environmental implications of water quality, the economic implications, and the social implications with the goal of understanding how we can sustainably move forward. All class work can be done on participants' home computers. Some experimentation activities will require minimal consumable supplies but can be completed safely at participants' home with minimal equipment. There will be extensive online discussion with other educators throughout the course.

At the end of the course, participants will receive 16 full lessons including quizzes, worksheets, and PowerPoint presentations, that they can use with their students. By the end of the course, participants will be able to discuss and teach others about water quality, nutrient management, and agriculture's role in conservation.

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