Register with GEF for FREE to enjoy these great benefits! 

    • member only contests and raffles

    • sustainability program news and updates

    • significant discounts at GEF Institute

Note: If you have problems registering, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Taking a GEF Institute Course? Login by clicking here.






Join Us

Sign Up for National Green Week!
Please note: Your privacy is very important to GEF. We do not share or sell any of your data.  It is with the sole purpose of providing you with relevant information that GEF will contact you.

Welcome to the Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Here, you can find free sustainability lessons to use in your class and upload your own lessons to share. Be sure to rate the lessons you use and leave comments for your colleagues!

All of GEF's lessons and programs are offered at no cost.  Become a member to support GEF and enjoy member only benefits! 
Join button_03

Professional Development

GEFinstitute LOGO_WEB GEF Institute offers affordable, online sustainability courses eligible for professional development or academic credit.
Give your resume a boost!

Sponsor a Teacher

Support educators in your community by helping them earn a Certificate in Sustainability or take an online course. Find out more about sponsorship!
Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Watershed Protection

Lesson Description:
WatershedIcon Students will be able to …
  • Identify and describe the ways humans have an impact water quality.
  • Explain the effects of water pollution as it relates to the environment and our personal health.
  • Identify possible causes of water pollution.
  • Differentiate between the two types of water pollution: point and non-point source pollution.

Lesson Type:
  • Discussion
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Water

GEF Program Category:
  • Sustainable Water Challenge
  • Green Energy Challenge

Time Needed:
60-90 minutes
Standards Addressed:

Technology Standard 3: Understand the relationship among science, technology, society and the individual.
  • Benchmark # 5: Understand that technology may affect the environment both negatively and positively (e.g., fertilizers used to help plants to grow may end up in a water supply as a non-point source of water pollution).

Geography Standard 14: Understand how human actions modify the physical environment.
  • Benchmark # 1: Know the ways people alter the physical environment (e.g., clearing the land to to make rooms for houses and shopping centers, building roads, planting crops).
  • Benchmark # 2: Know the ways in which the physical environment is stressed by human activity (e.g., water and air pollution, expanding human development).

Geography Standard 16: Understand the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution and importance of resources.
  • Benchmark # 2: Know how settlement patterns are influenced by the discovery and uses of resources (e.g., the growth of industry and cities along major waterways).

Geography Standard 18: Understand global development and environmental issues.
  • Benchmark # 2: Know ways in which resources can be managed and why it is important to do so (e.g., identifying and eliminating point sources of water pollution, identifying potential non-point sources of water pollution and taking steps to minimize their impact).

Health Standard 2: Know environmental and external factors that affect individual and community health.
  • Benchmark # 1: Know how the physical environment can impact personal health (e.g., the effects of exposure to water pollution).

Language Arts Standard 1: Use the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
  • Benchmark # 7: Write expository compositions (e.g., develop the topic with simple facts, details, examples, and explanations, use structures such as cause-and-effect, chronology, similarities and differences).

Materials Needed:
  • Paper
  • Writing implements
  • Property handouts provided
  • Chalk
  • Random item from desk
  • Copy of Chief Seattle's "Brother Eagle, Sister Sky" 

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Watershed Protection.pdf
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf watershedBG.pdf
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf WatershedCutOuts.pdf

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools