Correcting an error about origin of Project WET
Julian Martin's op-ed ("Companies teach us well") contained a significant error about the origin and intent of Project WET, a global nonprofit water education organization.
Martin stated that Project WET was created by Nestlé, when in fact, I founded Project WET -- WET stands for "Water Education for Teachers" -- in 1984 at the North Dakota State Water Commission. Tasked with educating the public about water resources management, I found the usual methods of teaching about complicated water topics ineffective with nonexpert audiences, especially children and youth. Having grown up on a dryland farm in North Dakota, I knew that people of all ages needed objective, unbiased information about water, presented in a way that they could understand, so I set about creating those methods.
The work that I did in North Dakota paved the way for the Project WET Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is now active in all 50 U.S. states and more than 60 countries around the world. Through a network of partners around the world, Project WET trains tens of thousands of educators each year to teach about water in hands-on, engaging ways.
Throughout our nearly 30 years of existence, Project WET has thrived thanks to many different sources of funding. These include sales of our materials; partnerships with local, state and federal agencies; grants and contracts with government and international organizations; individual donations and corporate sponsorships that do include, starting in the late 1990s, Nestlé Waters. Our sponsors provide funds to allow us to train teachers, develop materials and carry out our mission of reaching children, parents, educators and communities of the world with water education; they do not influence the content of our materials, which remain the gold standard for objective, science-based water resources education for children and youth.
Thank you for the chance to set the record straight.
President, CEO and Founder
Project WET Foundation