This week, we’re learning about young people in Albuquerque, NM, who worked with the local media to educate residents about a “smelly situation” affecting the Rio Grande.
At Coronado Elementary, a dual language school near the Albuquerque National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1st graders teamed up with 5th graders to investigate water quality at the bosque on the Rio Grande.
The 1st graders made monthly visits to conducted water quality testing at two different points on the Rio Grande, one near the Hispanic Center and one at the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. They passed off the data they collected to the 5th graders for analysis.
The older students took the data and began a yearlong investigation that tied all parts of their curriculum together, including lessons in science, literacy, art, technology, math, and social studies. They decided to head out to the river to see what might be causing some of the water quality issues they observed from the data. Once at the bosque, they noticed an enormous amount of dog waste, left by dog owners. Armed with orange flags to mark poop piles, they ran out of markers before they could make it 100 feet!
Their solution was rooted in public outreach. They contacted local media outlet KOAT-TV to help spread the word on Earth Day that pet waste is dangerous, not only to the waterways, but to the residents of Albuquerque. Check out the TV spot here: There’s too much dog poop in the Rio Grande.
They also created dog treat carriers as a fund-raiser to sell to residents and presented to City of Albuquerque officials explaining their finding and recommendations.
This week ends our Youth in Action Summer Series. We are thrilled to have shared so many amazing stories of young people working to address the environmental issues their communities are facing today. Thanks to all of our passionate partners, funders, educators, and of course, young people, who make change possible!