Today is World Water Day, an international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others, and take action to make a difference.
Water plays a significant role in the work we do at Earth Force. Although we support youth in all kinds of environmental change, more often than not, water plays a prominent role in their environmental projects. Three of our programs, GM GREEN (General Motors Global Rivers Environmental Education Network), KIC-NET (Keep It Clean – Neighborhood Environmental Trios) and Caring for Our Watersheds focus young people around the investigation and protection of their local waterways.
Although each program approaches water differently, the end result is the same: young people creating tangible change that has a positive impact on their watershed. We want to take today to celebrate the incredible progress our young people have made in preserving their local water resources and encouraging their communities to do the same!
Through GM GREEN, students in Wentzville, MO worked with their local government to address litter in their waterways, which was caused by the influx of traffic in specific areas. Through public outreach and requests to work with the Board of Alderman, they recorded a video with Alderman Linda Wright and launched ‘Toss 10’ to increase awareness and challenge the public to pick up at least 10 pieces of trash on any given Tuesday. Ald. Wright talked about the value of controlling litter, not only to the environment but to the community, as littering costs the City of Wentzville in dollars and labor and has adverse effects on the community’s image and property values.
Students at Lanier Middle School in Fairfax, VA drastically reduced the amount of waste in their school through new water fountains. They proposed installing water bottle filling stations to reduce plastic bottled water use, recognizing that bottled water often ends up as plastic pollution, eventually making its way into their waterways. They entered their proposal in the Caring for Our Watersheds competition and won $4,200 from Agrium towards their project. Students also approached the Fairfax County School Board in hopes of getting additional funding. Ultimately, they were granted enough money to install six filling stations this past summer!
Student participating in KIC-NET from Coronado Elementary in Albuquerque, NM investigated water quality issues they observed in the Rio Grande. 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.
We are proud of all of our outstanding young people who act on the essence of World Water Day, everyday. They are invested in understanding their environment, developing the skills and motivations to take action, and helping those around them to understand their role.
Author: Kristen Mueller
Kristen Mueller leads national communications, creating engagement and excitement around Earth Force, and its partners’, hands on, minds on programming. Specializing in traditional media and social media relations, she brings youth voice and leadership to the forefront of the environmental education field.