'Dive Deeper' biennial water resource conference for educators set for Sept. 23

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Educators who teach youth about water resources can get useful information to help plan their curricula by attending Penn State Extension’sDive Deeper Summit,” a youth water education summit slated for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 23.

In-person and virtual registration options are available. The in-person session will take place at the Central Hotel and Conference Center in Harrisburg, according to Jennifer Fetter, watershed youth-development educator with Penn State Extension.

“The purpose of the summit is to provide professional development and networking opportunities for educators who are or want to be teaching youth about water,” she said. “This includes educators both in the formal classroom and in informal settings such as nature centers, parks, camps and afterschool programs.”

As part of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, Pennsylvania and other bay states have agreed to provide programs known as "Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences" throughout the K-12 career of students. Over the years, the “Dive Deeper Summit” has become one of the key professional development events supported by the Pennsylvania Environmental Literacy Taskforce.

This year’s conference will feature sessions on climate science, aquaponics in the classroom, tools for teaching students about buffers, and salt treatments on roads and their impact on water.

The keynote speaker is Jon Nese, associate head for undergraduate programs in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science at Penn State. His talk, “Waterwise: A Tale of Weather and Climate,” will highlight how water and its related processes are some of the most challenging to model and forecast, often frustrating meteorologists as well as those who depend on forecasts.

Heather Preisendanz, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, will present the afternoon general session. Her presentation — “What Else is in Our Water?” — will help attendees to understand the links between the use of household products and the presence of emerging contaminants in waterways.

In-person attendance includes the full day of conference sessions, a choice of concurrent presentations, morning refreshments, lunch buffet, exhibits and networking. These attendees also will have the opportunity to have a sample of their home drinking water tested. The deadline to register for in-person attendance is Sept. 17.

Online attendees will have access to professionally streamed versions of the keynote and general session speakers as well as a selected track of workshops. There also will be a special networking session for the virtual conference attendees. A kit will be mailed to these participants so they can participate in the conference’s hands-on activities. To receive these materials, one must register no later than Sept. 3.

Act 48 continuing education hours will be provided to Pennsylvania certified teachers for both in-person and virtual attendees. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Environmental Literacy Taskforce and the state Department of Education are offering full scholarships to Pennsylvania certified teachers, administrators and collegiate-level educators. Applications are due Aug. 1.

To apply for scholarships and to register for the summit, visit the Dive Deeper Summit webpage. More information can be obtained by contacting Fetter at 717-921-8803 or

Last Updated May 25, 2021