Rock Your Watershed! is a new interactive game on the Water Rocks! website (www.waterrocks.org) that challenges users to select land management practices for ten parcels of land in a shared watershed, while balancing profit (from agricultural crop production) and water quality parameters (sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus). Profit and water quality parameters come together to yield an overall score, but precipitation each year is an unknown variable that can make a big difference!
The game’s algorithms are grounded in scientific studies correlating land management choices, sediment and nutrient transport, economics and precipitation in the state of Iowa. It’s a fun (not to mention competitive) way to get Iowans thinking about the connections between land management choices and the health of our natural resources.
The first level of the Rock Your Watershed! game was debuted in November and was played 450 times in its first two weeks. One 7th grader told us that he had to play the game 17 times before he figured out where it made sense to place different practices for a good score. How’s that for engagement — how many 7th graders do you know that will sit through a textbook lesson 17 times?
You can find ROCK YOUR WATERSHED! in the left hand menu of the Water Rocks! website. The game is computer, ipad- and tablet-friendly, as long as you have internet access. Are you ready to take the Rock Your Watershed! challenge? Try it today and see how your choices hold up!