The Well Watch Program (WWP) first began in 1991 with the drilling of the first groundwater monitoring well at Eaton Elementary School. Two more were drilled in 1992 and 14 more were added by 1995. The Central Colorado Water Conservancy District (CCWCD) spearheaded this program and the drilling of the monitoring groundwater wells. Various drilling and construction partners donated project time, labor, permitting, and equipment. The wells ranged from Eaton to Pueblo. Due to lack of technology to store and analyze data collected by students, interest in the project waned and it unfortunately became less of a priority for science teachers.
In 2010, CCWCD and the Poudre Learning Center (PLC) decided to revitalize the WWP by investing in the drilling of three water well test sites at the PLC in Greeley. These wells helped respark the importance of why we need to teach students and teachers about groundwater and its importance as a natural resource.
The focus group of Well Watch Program (WWP) has been teachers and students from third grade through college. The complexity of groundwater science makes it accessible for student involvement at all levels. The levels of questions students ask or want to investigate vary also with the amount of background information they possess. To enable any student to reach higher-level inquiry questions, meaningful background information must be infused into a curriculum. This is what we have tried to do with the WWP. This project is giving students the opportunity to be involved with real life science investigation and the ability to share it with other students and scientist. Not many science projects give students this opportunity! The WWP works with teachers to provide these experiences for students. We have provided workshop opportunities for teachers to help build their content background knowledge. We have also gone into teacher’s classrooms to assist them with the WWP curriculum and water quality testing from the well at their school. Teachers are extremely overloaded with normal school activities and are reluctant to take on any additional task. This is why we have worked with teachers so closely. We know the success of students being given this opportunity depends on our assistance and support to teachers.
The Well Watch Project is quickly evolving into a program, no longer just a project. With our goal of seeing it become part of science curricula in schools throughout Weld County, we do not anticipate this project ending in the near future. We also have plans to bring on new schools and to re-drill wells at schools that once had them but lost them to landscape remodeling. Teacher workshops will continue to be a necessity as teachers retire and new teachers become part of the project. Teachers will need to be trained on well water extraction protocol, water testing protocol, groundwater earth science content knowledge, and the possibilities of how the web site data can be used for further inquiry science investigations.