Penn State Extension’s ‘Roadside Guide to Clean Water’ wins awards

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The “Roadside Guide to Clean Water,” a publication of Penn State Extension, has been recognized three times since being published in April 2020.

The publication, available online and in print, takes readers through the water management practices that they might see and use within their own communities.

“We designed the ‘Roadside Guide’ like a field guide,” said co-author Jennifer Fetter, water resources extension educator. “People like to identify birds and trees by flipping through guides when they’re going on walks, so we designed a field guide that would help them identify water management practices.”

The publication details diverse water management practices, including manure storage and application, rain gardens, and urban and suburban trees. Each two-page spread was co-authored by an extension educator with expertise in those areas.

Credit: Penn State Extension / Penn StateCreative Commons

“You might see this book on a farm, in a suburban home or in an apartment in a city,” Fetter said. “It’s not just aimed at water management in one portion of the state. It’s about water management everywhere, because everyone has a role to play in cleaning up our water in Pennsylvania.”

The publication is designed to inform Pennsylvanians about these practices and to facilitate the work of individuals and organizations focused on this task.

“At times, communities, organizations or landowners receive complaints after installing a best management practice or changing a management approach because it changes the way the landscape looks, changes the way people can use certain spaces, or because of misinformation about the purpose or impact of practices,” said Danielle Rhea, a water resources extension educator.

“This publication provides science-based information in an easy-to-understand format that will help people become more informed about why certain practices are being used,” said Rhea, who played a key role in laying out the pamphlet.

The Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals recognized the publication with a Silver Award in the long publication category of its Outstanding Educational Materials Awards. The association’s awards recognize outstanding programs and materials, and entries are judged on content, editing, graphics and design, and evaluation and impact.

The National Association of County Agricultural Agents also recognized it as a national finalist in the publication category of its communication awards. That awards program acknowledges excellence in communicating programs and ideas to clientele. The publication category is scored based on content, readability, design and appearance.

The guide also received a Programming Team Excellence Award in this year’s Penn State Extension Director’s Awards. The Excellence Award recognizes sustained excellence in consistent display of compassion; a cooperative, respectful, and positive attitude; excellence in daily serving of internal and external customers; and contribution to creative solutions for problems that arise.

To date, more than 2,200 printed copies of the publication have been distributed, and the online guide has nearly 3,300 views. Penn State Extension plans additional distribution of the guide at community and statewide events.

The publication can be viewed at

Last Updated June 08, 2021