P.W. Paws helps educate-grade-schoolers about various aspects of public works. Source: American Public Works Association
P.W. Paws helps educate-grade-schoolers about various aspects of public works. Source: American Public Works Association

Associations and bookstores offer a wealth of informational resources to educate public works professionals-and the residents they serve—about water, sewers, roads/bridges, parks, and what it takes to keep municipalities running smoothly. However, you can also get the younger members of your community excited about public works with materials geared toward educating children. The following lists just some of the kids' titles available.


The Story of Drinking Water is a colorful 16-page booklet from the American Water Works Association (AWWA). It aims to teach grade-schoolers all about drinking water and its importance in our lives. Topics include the history of water treatment, where drinking water comes from, and conservation. The literature—which comes in both English and Metric versions—also engages youngsters by encouraging discussion on water and what we use it for every day. The AWWA also provides Whaddya Know about H20?, a 30-minute video (in VHS or DVD) consisting of free-standing, one-minute segments on water, each on a different topic. For these and other water-related titles, visit www.awwa.org.

Solid Waste

Ollie's World is a multinational program that educates children about waste and environmental responsibility. Produced by the Australia-based organization Sustain Ability International, it encourages a child's interest about the planet through CD-ROMs, books, apparel, and educational programming. The Web site also includes a range of games, puzzles, and other activities, with sections for both kids and adults. For more information, visit www.olliesworld.com.


The floating concrete kit—offered by the World of Concrete Bookstore—is designed to help expand a child's interest in engineering and construction. The hands-on experiment challenges kids to make concrete that floats. The items include cement, sand, vermiculite, mixing containers, instructions, and a teacher's or leader's guide. The World of Concrete Bookstore also offers a wide range of books about concrete and related construction equipment, in addition to toys, hats, t-shirts, and other items designed for little concrete guys and gals. To purchase, visit the Bookstore at next year's conference in Las Vegas, or go to www.worldofconcrete.com.

Parks and Recreation

The Woodsy Owl Activity Guide teaches children about the environment, and the importance of keeping America's parks and forests clean. Designed to foster a child's healthy, lifelong relationship with nature, the guide encourages to prevent littering, conserve resources, and spend more time enjoying and respecting the great outdoors. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service also provides a wealth of materials featuring Smokey Bear, the protector and educator of our nation's forests. For more information about both of these programs, go to www.fs.fed.us.


P.W. Paws Works for Our City encourages children to explore the world of public works with the tiger mascot of the American Public Works Association (APWA). Designed for children ages 5–12, this short comic book introduces kids to many of the responsibilities of public works professionals in an easy-to-read format. In addition to the comic book, the APWA also offers P.W. Paws' smiling face on bobble-heads, plush dolls, pencils, balloons, and other books and hand-outs. To obtain materials or learn more, visit www.apwa.net.