By Brian Taylor, NSRWA Environmental Educator
The NSRWA has launched the WaterSmart Water All Around You school program for 2019! Since the program started visiting schools in 2008, we have educated more than 25,000 South Shore students. Water is a valuable resource, especially here on the South Shore, so it’s important to use it wisely. Water All Around You really helps students understand how they can help to keep their local water clean and learn how to conserve it – for now and in the future.
If you’re not familiar with the Water All Around You program, just ask the fifth graders in Hingham’s public schools; like Foster, South, or Plymouth River, who have participated over the past couple weeks. In this program, the NSRWA brings interactive water and environmentally related activities or “stations” that the students engage in. Through this, students discover what their watershed is and where they live in it, how water moves across and into the land, where their water comes from and where it goes, how pollutants enter the watershed, and what they can do to help protect and conserve their water. But we’re not just engaging and educating our local youth, we also engage the parents too. A fun detail to the program is that the student’s parents help run the program! The NSRWA is so fortunate to have so many eager and excited parent volunteers from each school to help educate their own children and classmates.
Each program is tailored to their particular town, and many involve a field trip to either their town’s water treatment plant or local river, bringing the experience full circle and showing many of the concepts in the real world. Through this program the students gain a better understanding of how important this valuable resource is, but also how vulnerable it can be. Through the Water All Around You program, students walk away from the experience excited about their watershed, and also empowered to help protect and conserve it. This program is, in many cases, the first step these young people take to make a positive impact on their communities and the world!
The NSRWA has had a great time working with the students from Hingham the last couple of weeks. Looking ahead throughout winter, spring, and summer, we will be headed to 26 more schools in the towns of Norwell, Pembroke, Duxbury, Marshfield, Scituate, Rockland, Hull, Weymouth, and Hanover, totaling to over thirty individual school visits reaching thousands of students annually.
The WaterSmart Program is a partnership with the NSRWA and 11 towns on the South Shore; Aquarion (Hingham and Hull), Duxbury, Hanover, Kingston, Marshfield, Norwell, Pembroke, Rockland, Scituate and Weymouth, which provides education to school children and adults on stormwater and water conservation in their homes, businesses and towns.