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We serve the needs of schoolchildren, university students, concerned citizens, academics and professionals by providing opportunities for engagement in water-related activities that promote learning about and caring for our state’s water resources.


We convene diverse groups and facilitate problem-solving exercises to explore issues and find common solutions. We also provide hands-on opportunities to connect people with their local waterways. We encourage networking and professional sharing across sectors and disciplines to deepen understanding about the many facets of water. Overall, we strive to promote shared responsibility for our water. We do these things through our professional trainings and through watershed activities coordinated by the Watershed Stewardship Network and other programs.

Professional Training

WRRI maintains a robust education and training program to provide water resources information to a wide range of stakeholders working in private industry, academics, nonprofit groups, local governments, state agencies and more. We host a variety of seminars, workshops and luncheons, through which we reach over 1000 students and professionals and provide over 50 professional development hours/continuing education units annually.

Registration information and other details about WRRI trainings are available on our events page. We also help to promote and sponsor other water-related events occurring throughout the state and the southeast region.


The WRRI Annual Conference is the state’s premier conference focusing on water resources research, policy and management issues in North Carolina. This event brings together up to 400 people from diverse sectors and geographical locations to share, network and find solutions to our pressing water challenges.

Higher-Education Students

WRRI offers a graduate student component of our annual call for research proposals and funds several graduate researchers each cycle. 

For faculty submissions to our annual funding call, one criteria for proposal evaluation is the level of engagement of student researchers; thus, almost all funded projects support university students, and many also engage K-12 and public audiences with an outreach component included in their project scope.

K-12 Education

WRRI partners with educational organizations to produce and share award-winning lesson plans that align with N.C. educational standards. The Watershed Wisdom lesson plan is geared toward fourth- and fifth-grade students and teaches all the basics of watersheds. The Keeping Water Renewable lesson plan is aimed for seventh and eighth-grade students and teaches a robust exploration of human interaction with the water cycle, including problems with too much water or pollution, and ways to make positive changes. WRRI also coordinates the innovative Wake Green Schools Partnership, where formal and informal educators and other community partners collaborate to support environmental literacy and sustainability in schools. Visit our K-12 Education page for more details!


The following resource list was provided to support remote learning during the Covid pandemic.

See the specially adapted guide for using Watershed Wisdom in remote learning here.

  • The U.S. Geological Survey offers educational resources across the grade levels from pre-K through college. They focus on all of the earth sciences, including geology, ecology, hydrology, atmospheric sciences and planetary sciences. Teachers can search by grade level, topic or type.
  • Project WET is offering free distance-learning resources designed for pre-K, late elementary and middle school students. These can be completed online at home – and teachers can assign some of the activities for credit.
  • The Project WET Twitter feed offers more resources and opportunities.The NC Division of Water Resources Educational Activities page has more information about Project WET, as well as other resources.
  • ProjectWET also offers materials for teaching children from pre-K to high school at home.
  • The Project WET Twitter feed offers more resources and opportunities.
  • Clean Water Education Partnership (CWEP) shares activities to help kids learn about water while moving around – activities for pre-K through eighth grade.
  • CWEP’s Twitter feed provides even more content for young children, such as water songs and story book readings.STEAM Squad is a weekly resource for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics activities.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Accessibility

WRRI’s relevance increasingly will rely on how well we embody diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and accessibility. We are taking intentional measures in our hopes to fully realize diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and accessibility in all aspects of our programmatic portfolio.