009: Catalyst Mastermind Speaker Series Dr. Rudi Thompson


Dr. Ruthanne “Rudi” Thompson is a UNT Distinguished Teaching Professor, Director of the Science Education Research Laboratory, and Director of the Dallas Environmental Education Initiative (EEI). Rudi worked as a high school Biology teacher, created and taught an AP Environmental Science course and co-developed the Elm Fork Environmental Education Center on the Campus of the University of North Texas.  All of these experiences culminated twelve years ago when the City of Dallas Water Conservation and Recycling divisions put out a Request for Proposals for the design, development, and implementation of an Environmental Education Initiative. UNT’s proposal was selected and in these 12 years since, the EEI science educators have provided direct, inquiry-based, resource conservation instruction to more than 229,200 learners, pre-k through 12th grade, within the City of Dallas.  

We met Dr. Thompson when she presented about the Dallas EEI program at a WENNT meeting earlier this year. WENNT is the Water Educator Network of North Texas meetings we attend monthly. We loved how she was able to show real impact for the program, both in dollars and gallons. She is looking for partners to spread her research! We’re hoping that by spreading the word about the success of the Dallas EEI program that she is able to gain new partners across the state, the country, and even the globe.

Top Takeaways:

  1. Intergenerational transfer multiples the impacts of children learning about water conservation (Dr. Thompson says that’s just a fancy way to say kids guilt their family members into conserving water).
  2. Learn how Dr. Thompson used quantifiable data to show that commitment to saving water was translating into actual water savings.
  3. Research doesn’t always needs to be complicated. Sometimes all you need are some water bills and an Excel spreadsheet.

Resources Mentioned:

Social Marketing: Why Should the Devil have All the Best Tunes by Gerard Hastings:

Hands on Social Marketing: a Step by Step Guide by Nedra Kline Weinreich


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