General rainwater harvesting classes at South African universities and colleges are unheard of but perhaps this should become a standard, even starting at primary school level? Rainwater harvesting and rain water tank installation is not rocket science and it can save money, water and be good for the environment too.
Rainy days are starting to look a lot brighter! The once dreaded mud-puddle days are now bringing a greater awareness, in fact, of being quite valuable. Rainwater harvesting is picking up speed, and news is spreading of just how easy it is to conserve this ever-prized resource.
In simpler terms, more and more people are leaving a receptacle or water tank on their decks or patios to simply collect the rainwater as it falls. Watering the plants has never been so easy; ditch that hose! But more and more communities, colleges, and universities are upping the ante. And they should.
Communities across America are offering weekend seminars and workshops for the locals. For example, Texas Water Resources Institute offers seminars and workshops on learning the necessary skills. In just a day or two, a family or organization can learn to change its ways, save money, and conserve water.
For places where bottled water actually costs more money than gasoline, like the Hawaiian Islands, rainwater harvesting is a necessity, and the courses offered are empowering locals like never before.
The bigger and even better surprise, however, is that colleges and universities are wising up, as well. More and more schools are applying water harvesting techniques on their campuses, and the awareness has increased so much that they are now offering classes on campus to teach students how to carry this skill-set into their futures. The courses are becoming coveted facets of major or minor studies, and the results are far-reaching.
Anyone in the field of education – or anyone who has even considered themselves to be a “learner” – knows that experiential learning is simply the best way to attain new skills, information, data, and yes…experience.
In a superb way, The University of Arizona is applying this truism. Joe Silins, a community member and representative for Watershed Management Group in Tuscson, Arizona, articulates the value:
These are simple and affordable techniques that we focus on that pretty much anyone can get into … I think it’s great that students get the opportunity to improve their campus in a hands-on capacity, letting them leave a mark beyond their tenure at the university.
Silins hosts water harvesting workshops, while college professors like Hazel Cox facilitate and organize on-campus classes. Well received by students, the courses engage the participants with hands-on learning and life-long lessons about conservation. One senior and environmental science major, Melanie Martin, shares her enthusiasm regarding Cox’s class:
I really enjoy it…I like the hands-on aspect of it, and it’s really informative. We won’t have to use city water that we use for drinking to water the plants if we use what comes from the sky to water the plants.
Martin makes a simple yet cogent point. Those in the Southwest United States do need to conserve this natural resource, and the skills attained in her coursework will last long after the class comes to a close. While University of Arizona seems to be at the forefront of these types of classes, there are also many other local schools and organizations following suit.
An added bonus to these types of classes offered to undergraduates is that the field is opening up many career options; from community organizer to engineering options to health care careers or many environmental studies programs, the options are both exciting and endless.
If a semester-long course, like the one offered at University of Arizona, is a bit daunting, perhaps a shorter class, like the ones offered at the University of Minnesota, might be more to your liking. Their class covers topics like cost-benefit analysis, projecting costs for starting up the practice of rainwater harvesting, and other issues associated with the implementation of this earth-healthy practice.
What’s great to know is that all the bases are covered. From the two-hour-long community awareness seminars all the way up to university semester-long classes, the educational offerings for rainwater harvesting are here to stay. A quick online search for your geographic area will reveal that there’s something for everyone. This practice is truly worthy, and the initial steps are just plain simple.
Source: Valerie J. Wilson (Valerie J. Wilson is a freelance writer and consultant for various individuals, companies, and organizations).
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