CWEST hosts or participates in several educational and funding initiatives at a variety of age levels.

Funding for collaborative USGS research:


Education and outreach:

CWEST Graduate Research Fellowship

CWEST logo The CWEST Research Fellowship is for current or incoming Masters and/or PhD students at CU Boulder who develop a collaborative, water-related research project between CU and the USGS. Funding supports student tuition, research, and/or training. More information is located on our Funding Opportuntites page. 

Contact: CWEST Program Manager - (

CU's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)

  CU Boulder logoUROP is an undergraduate research funding program at CU Boulder. CWEST leverages these existing funds to increase undergraduate research engagement at the USGS. Undergraduates interested in doing research at the USGS should reach out to CWEST's Program Manager for help in coordinating a research opportunity and applying for research funding. CU faculty can also apply for UROP funds that support an undergraduate(s) researcher project(s). CWEST facilitates CU and USGS collaborations to increase undergraduate access to USGS trainings and research opportunities-stay informed of these opportunities through CWEST events.

Contact: CWEST Program Manager - (

USGS Volunteer For Science Program

USGS LogoAre you a student wanting to find out what’s involved in doing science, a weekend science warrior with a passion for learning, or a retired person looking for a fulfilling way to spend some free time?  If so, the USGS Volunteer for Science Program could be a good fit.  Interested individuals can find and apply for USGS Volunteer for Science opportunities at  In addition, they can also check out CWEST’s people page to see if there is a particular USGS researcher with whom they might be interested in working and contact them directly.  CWEST’s managing director ( can also help point you in the right direction. 

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, please check out the USGS’s Volunteer for Science webpage:
USGS’s Volunteer for Science webpage

CU’s Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Program

Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Program

Former INSTAAR graduate student Lee Stanish learns how to measure streamflow in her Applied Stream Ecology class, one of the Hydrologic Sciences Program's course options. Photo by Karen Cozzetto.

The University of Colorado's (CU's) Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Program focuses on the quantitative analysis of water in the environment with opportunities for research in a variety of areas including: geologic and biogeochemical processes, ecosystem function, and global elements cycling. Students can either receive a graduate certificate in hydrologic sciences to accompany another degree they are obtaining or can work towards a Ph.D. in hydrology. The program’s annual Hydrologic Science’s Symposium brings together students and faculty participating in water-related research across a variety of CU departments allowing them to share their latest findings. Occurring in the spring and open to all, the symposium also brings in two to three hydrology experts each year from across the country to give featured talks.

Contact: Sabre Duren, Associate Director of the Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Program - (
Webpage: CU’s Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Program

INSTAAR/NSIDC Annual Open House for Southern Hills Middle School Students

INSTAAR/NSIDC Annual Open House

Photo by Jen Bowman

INSTAAR’s and the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s (NSIDC) open house for Southern Hills Middle School Students has become an annual tradition. Occurring nearly every year since 1999, students get to tour a variety of facilities and learn about the science happening at INSTAAR and NSIDC in ways that are engaging and fun. 

INSTAAR Open House webpage
CWEST Open House webpage

NSF’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program’s Schoolyard Book Series for elementary school students

Schoolyard Book Series

The LTER Schoolyard book series was started by CWEST's founding director, Diane McKnight, with the goal of educating both children and their parents about the varied ecosystems across the U.S., Antarctica, and Puerto Rico. The books take a unique approach  to promote the development of environmental empathy and
environmental literacy through the use of narrative. Ultimately, at least one children’s book will be produced for each of the 26 LTER locations.  The books can be purchased online and are also being sold at locations like National Park Service gift shops increasing the impact of the books beyond the LTER community.  CWEST has been particularly involved in the production of three books in the series:

The My Water seriese is paired with curricula, hands-on learning kits, teacher development training and dissemination of materials through school districts to further water science education.  

Contact:  Amy Rinehart, LTER Schoolyard Series editor -
Webpage: LTER Schoolyard Book Series publication page

McKnight, D. M. (2010). Overcoming “ecophobia”: fostering environmental empathy through narrative in children's science literatureFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment8(6).

Ray, C., M. McKnight, D., D. Bidwell, M., Fourment, T., Flanagan Pritz, C., & H. Rinehart, A. (2015). Children’s book series and associated curricula support elementary education and outreach in water resourcesPlant Ecology & Diversity8(5-6), 795-804.