2017, Cinncinnati, Ohio, USA
When faced with the challenge to improve her local watershed, Annie Smith thought of her school drinking water fountains. Her school is very old and while it has been remodeled several times, it seems several of the drinking fountains never got updated. So she developed a project she called the “Hydration Station.” It all started when she saw the enormous amounts of plastic water bottles being thrown away at her school. Her idea was to start the process of installing automatic water bottle refill stations around the school in order to reduce the number of plastic water bottles that Oak Hills High School throws away every single day.
Annie worked with the Caring For Our Watersheds staff, her mentors, teachers and Winnsupply company in Fairfield to acquire two water fountains to be installed in the school. Maintenance staff installed the first fountain (pictured below) in one of the main hallways within the school in order to maximize the usage of the fountain. After less than a week of being installed, the water fountain had already saved 395 water bottles, a number that will hopefully continue growing. That’s right, almost 400 bottles in just one week.
Annie graduated just after the CFW finals, but in the future she hopes to revisit the school and see how many water bottles have been saved. She hopes to take this newly collected data and propose that all the water fountains at Oak Hills High School be replaced with new water bottle filling stations. If this is successful, she plans on reaching out to the superintendent and proposing that all old water fountains in the district be replaced with new water bottle filling stations. She also hopes to work with the Oak Hills “Spirit Shop”, or book store, to get reusable water bottles with the Oak Hills logo on them, to be purchased and used by students and staff at the water fountains. The janitors had some issues with the ‘old’ plumbing, but they were able to build a frame to mount the new filling station. Persistence pays off.