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From April 19th through the 23rd, 2021, the USGS California Water Science Center (CAWSC) participated in the first virtual Orange County Youth Environmental Summit (YES). The award-winning program, formerly known as the Children's Water Education Festival, offers 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders opportunities for learning and engagement.

Through interactive sessions, YES teaches youth that they can make a difference in protecting our resources today, tomorrow, and for future generations. This year’s online event attracted more than 7,000 students and their teachers. For this year’s program, presenters were asked to submit short video lessons addressing water-related and environmental issues that support next generation science standards. In the lesson submitted by CAWSC, students were introduced to streamgages and learned about different ways USGS hydrologists measure water height and speed in California's steams and why that's important.

This video explains how streamgages are used to measure the height and flow, or speed, of streams. By monitoring the height and flow of streams, the people who manage water infrastructure can have advanced noted of when the water is rising and how fast it’s coming. This helps to prepare for flooding, mudslides, and other hazardous impacts that a lot of fast-moving water can have. NOTE: The video was created for third graders. Some of the concepts have been simplified accordingly.

The video posed questions for students to consider and review afterward. The video also introduced students to new terms and concepts. At the end of the video there were hands-on activities for students to try, either at home or in the classroom.

To learn more about YES, visit their website at:


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