K-12 Education

The Watershed Wisdom lesson plan is geared toward fourth- and fifth-grade students and teaches all the basics of watersheds. The lesson includes many activities children can complete at home and aligns with three N.C. educational standards, including 4.L.1. See the specially adapted guide for using Watershed Wisdom in remote learning here.

Find more resources for K-12 teachers, parents and students here.


WRRI maintains a robust education and training program to provide water resources information to a wide range of stakeholders working in private industry, academics, non-profit 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 credits 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 over 250 people from diverse sectors and geographical locations to share, network, and find solutions to our pressing water challenges.


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 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, and overall, we strive to promote shared responsibility for our water.

We do these things through our professional trainings, through watershed activities coordinated through the Center of Excellence for Watershed Management and its associated programs, and through facilitated gatherings of leaders and thinkers to explore emerging issues.

Higher-Education Students

WRRI prioritizes student training. From 2010-2015, WRRI supported research activities and degrees of over 120 graduates and undergraduates across six UNC campuses. WRRI outreach programs also engage approximately 100 K-12 students each year in North Carolina public schools.

In 2015, WRRI launched a student component of our annual call for research proposals, and looks forward to funding several graduate researchers each year. 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 as part of their project scope.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

WRRI’s relevance increasingly will rely on how well we embody diversity, equity and inclusion. Visit our DEI statement to learn about the intentional measures we are taking in our hopes to fully realize diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of our programmatic portfolio.