There is no one topic that more concerns most Kansans than water.
In western Kansas, which is heavily dependent on the finite Ogallala Aquifer to supply water for production agriculture, the reality of the depletion of the aquifer is one of growing concern and growing conservation efforts.
In eastern Kansas, where most of the state's population lives, there is heavy dependence on Corps of Engineers Reservoirs, which we know are silting in at an alarming rate.
This year, the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom and the Kansas Farm Bureau are stepping up to address these concerns with their eighth annual Be Ag-Wise professional development workshops in early 2015.
This year's theme is "Water Conservation: Every Drop Counts! How do you measure up?" The workshops, which are designed to target agricultural education presenters in each county, will engage educators to work hands-on with learning labs, lesson plans and resource materials emphasizing the importance of water conservation and how to integrate the materials into the classroom. A new Kids Connection magazine focusing on water conservation will also be highlighted.
The workshops will be held Feb. 21 in Manhattan, at the Sunset Zoo and March 14 in Hays at the Kansas State Research Extension and Experiment Station. This year, the Feb. 21 workshop will also be broadcast via satellite in Great Bend, Pittsburg, and Ottawa. The workshops for both dates are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Attendees will also earn their Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) certification. Created in 1991, the Project WET USA Network has reached millions of schools and community educators in hopes of enlightening as many as possible with science-based water resources and to inspire action to protect water sources. The Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education will facilitate the main portion of the Project WET training. More information about Project WET can be found at www.projectwet.org.
The workshop agenda and registration forms can be found on the KFAC website homepage. Registration fees are $60 per person and include lunch, refreshments, resource materials, and if applicable, professional development hours. Registration forms are due Jan. 16, 2015 to the KFB Accounting and Human Resources department in Manhattan.