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Thought leaders and educators gather to prescribe new flow for water education


Madison, WI, October 25, 2014 —A surprising collection of educators, leaders and water industry members are gathering on the University of Wisconsin campus next week. The group is coming together to discuss how to transform water education curricula.

WE Thinks: A Water Education Summit is hosted by the University of Wisconsin Extension, ThinkWater and the USDA/NIFA. Participants from around the country will gather at the Pyle Center November 3-5, 2014 to diagnose and prescribe how to increase the impact of existing water education curriculum.

Attendees include national, regional and local experts in water education, youth development, STEM, policy and program directors, educators, cognitive scientists and thought leaders, exploring the challenges and solutions surrounding water education.

The event’s director and co-founder of Cabrera Research Lab, Laura Cabrera, says that the sessions will provide a new way of looking at the challenges that all educators, not just water-specific educators, face when attempting to create behavioral change in youth.

“We see that in too many cases our efforts in teaching and educating are focused on memorizing and not enough on creating situations for students to think, create their own knowledge, and build new solutions to our long-term problems. We’re attempting to combine thinking skills into water education because it can and will be a model for success here and in all other fields of education,” says Cabrera.

The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the University of Wisconsin Extension and developed by ThinkWater, a USDA/NIFA grantee working on recasting current water education curriculum to include thinking skills.

Kate Reilly, an Environmental Education Specialist at UW – Extension and part of the ThinkWater Leadership Team, is promoting the event to her colleagues in Wisconsin because she sees the power of this new methodology. “ThinkWater shows educators how to modify their existing water education activities so they, and their students, can recognize if or when thinking occurs. The potential for this strategy to increase the impacts of adult and youth water education in Wisconsin and the nation is huge,” says Reilly.

Interested parties can follow the proceedings of the Summit on Twitter at #WEThinks2014 between November 3rd and 5th.


ThinkWater is a national project sponsored by the USDA and designed by educators, scientists and activists in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Extension to add thinking skills and awareness into existing water education lessons. The modified lessons and their delivery will create Water Thinkers – people who care about and deeply understand water and the issues surrounding it. The idea is based on research that shows that "meta-thinking" (metacognition or awareness of thinking) is a critical and missing component in all education. The Vision & Mission is to Engage, Educate, and Empower a World of Water Thinkers. Videos and other resources available at


Laura Cabrera, PhD,


Twitter: @waterthinkers #WEThinks2014

High Def video and other assets available after the event.