DeWitt grad coaches water quality

Central DeWitt graduate Clarice Huber speaks to children about the importance of Iowa’s waterways and farm fields. She travels the state as part of the Water Rocks! Internship program offered through Iowa State University.

Former Saber and current Iowa State University Sophomore Clarice Huber is traveling the state helping Iowans understand the importance of water quality and conservation.

She joined a group of conservation and water quality educators at Iowa State University (ISU) to deliver environmental content, participate in research projects, and help farmers learn about the latest in land and soil management practices. 

As an ISU water resources intern, Huber is a part of the award-winning Water Rocks! youth conservation education program and Iowa Learning Farms, a leading source of conservation and water quality resources and education in Iowa.

“I grew up in town, but through regular visits to my grandma’s farm, I gained a basic understanding of agricultural practices and process, and as an intern I am quickly melding my knowledge with a growing passion for conservation,” said Huber. “Working with children makes the experience even better. The enthusiasm for learning, and the sometimes-quirky perspectives or surprising statements they express keeps me on my toes.”

Her summer started in mid-May with immediate immersion into the Water Rocks! programming, visiting schools for classroom education. The program helps school-aged children not only understand the terminology of conservation but helps them individually make a difference by providing them with tangible activities and lifelong practices that each can use to do their part in protecting Iowa’s natural resources and environment.

“Learning and teaching about conservation and water quality at the same time is challenging, but I’ve never been shy about taking on big challenges,” said Clarice. “Before I was 10 years old, I was showing bassett hounds – some of which were significantly larger than me. I wasn’t deterred by that heavy lifting, and am looking forward to a full summer of hard work experiencing Iowa from border to border, engaging with Iowans of every age, and having fun as a water resources intern.” 

In addition to the Water Rocks! programming, Huber has been fully checked-out on the Conservation Station trailers used by Iowa Learning Farms (ILF) to bring the classroom to the audience, providing a platform for field days, outdoor classrooms, and educational programming at county fairs, farmers markets, and other public venues throughout the state.

The schedule of a water resources intern is complex, rigorous and rewarding. Activities include working with ISU researchers to collect samples and data, delivering one-on-one and group presentations on topics ranging from best agricultural practices to the importance of picking up after pets, and playing games such as Wetlands BINGO, the Watershed Game and the Poo Toss. It also includes lots of drive time, opportunities to observe Iowa from roadways large and small, and chances to get to know fellow teammates as well as a broad cross-section of Iowans.

“Summer is our busiest outreach season, and while the interns enable ILF and Water Rocks! to make more visits and appearances, they contribute much more than peoplepower,” said Jacqueline Comito, Water Rocks! executive director. “One of the coolest things we see every year is the connection between these young people and the audiences we serve, and not just the kids. Adults often seek out the interns to hear their stories and learn about why they’re involved in conservation efforts. Many have commented that it gives them hope for the future to see young people so passionate about conservation.”

Huber is a sophomore studying biosystems engineering at ISU. Always comfortable in the outdoors and working with children, she is excited to gain experience and learn through her internship this summer.