Hydrology Education

Hydrology Education Implementation Manitoba2019, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Holy Cross School grade 8 students Carliana and Vrinda wanted to make a change in the way their peers use water, so they came up with the idea to have an assembly to educate students and teachers about conserving water. Thinking of the future means thinking of our youth today. They explored themes related to the importance of freshwater, why it is important to conserve water, why it is important to keep our water resources clean, and what they can do at home and at school to make a difference.

“Educating other students on water and why it is important now means that they will have that knowledge as they grow up, making positive changes become habit early on.”

Reduce, Reuse and Upcycle!

2019, Woodbridge, Virginia, USA

Lake Ridge Middle School recently underwent an expansion of the school in order to house more students. During this expansion, an outdoor courtyard was created. In 2017-2018, the Ecology Club created a raised vegetable garden to help students experience the growth of food and caring for the Earth. This school year (2018-2019), the club wanted to focus on how to care for our waterways, while still adding to our garden and the biodiversity seen around our school.

The students decided to take trash from the school grounds and dumpsters and turn it into gardening tools and containers. Items bound for landfills and in storm drains can unintentionally make their way to our watershed, the nearby Occoquan River.

reduce reuse recycle implementation Chesapeake Bay

The students hope that by taking discarded items and turning them into beautiful plant containers, fencing and a rain barrel they will be able to reduce the amount of trash in the Occoquan, inspire other students and staff to upcycle materials in beneficial ways and increase the number of beneficial plants and insects in our area.

reduce reuse recycle implementation Chesapeake BayMany of our students are disconnected from nature. In a recent school survey, over 80% of students reported spending less than 15 minutes a day outside. This removal from the outside world impacts how the kids view the Earth and challenges that society faces with environmental issues. The students in the Ecology Club are using this courtyard garden to teach the other students at school about pollution, it’s impact on our water and soil, the importance of pollination and pollinators, biodiversity and where food comes from. It is not a complicated project, but it is profoundly changing how some students will approach their natural world. Their hope is for a cascade effect. They want to clean our local grounds and use that trash to beautify the garden by planting herbs and flowers in it. That it will increase the number of insects and birds in the garden and inspire the humans at school to do the same.

Recycling and Repurposing Electronics

2018-2019, Arlington, Virginia, USA

Recycling and Repurposing Electronics at Kenmore Middle SchoolValeria, Ashley, Iliana, Zaneya, Frank, Emmett, Connor, Jamethiel, Valery, Brady, and Talin were bothered by all the electronic being thrown away.  Many contain components that leak toxins into the watershed.  They hoped that by collecting unwanted electronics they could repurpose some and safely recycle others.

To improve their watershed, they wanted to recycle old phones, computers, tablets, and batteries in their school and community; but after weeks of research, they are limiting themselves to only accepting phones, batteries, and tablets.

They have approval from their principal to put shelves in their school lobby where people can put their old electronics.  Staples has agreed to take the tablets every other week.  If they happen to come across computers, Staples will take a few.

Their in-school police detective will take reusable phones to the Witness and Victim Protection Program so they can be used by victims of domestic violence.  If there are broken phones they can’t use, they plan to put them on Freecycle.org for people who want parts.  Apple will take back any of their devices that are broken.  Arlington County will take their batteries. They made a request that the county take the computers, but after many conversations, they sadly declined; but they can publicize the services the county has for recycling.

Another part of their recycling solution is to distribute flyers that say what to recycle in their county. They will give the magnets to every student in the school to share with families.  Another class has asked if they can give out their magnets as prizes to people who recycle.

Conclusion: Recycling electronics will helps the environment by taking out the lithium batteries that might cause a fire or explosion and the metals and plastic that would just end up in the trash. Old electronics pollute the environment and could cause horrendous impacts on the earth.  Recycling will keep toxic chemicals out of the water supply.

Project RORG (Run Off Rain Garden)

2019, Hernandon, Virginia, USA

Project RORG (Run Off Rain Garden)

For several months, David, Elizabeth, Pranith, Tadek, Shamiya, Kheya and Tapthi, who make up Team RORG (Run Off Rain Garden) have been researching, designing and implementing their project.

The two original sites were chosen because of they were in an appropriate spot for a rain garden and were cleared by Miss Utility for excavation. However, after boring multiple spots to test the soil, it was determined the soil was too rocky for a rain garden.

The benefits of the project are a significant amount of future run-off in the project area watershed will be captured by the hybrid rain garden where sediment and pollutants will be removed, and most of the water will have time to percolate into the ground rather than rushing the Horsepen Creek, causing additional erosion.

Project RORG (Run Off Rain Garden)

Three additional sites were chosen, all of which receive run-off from uphill areas. The three sites were cleared by Miss Utility and soil bore tests were performed. Due to the rockiness of the soil it was decided that a modification off the current design would be best. After additional research, a hybrid design featuring coconut fiber biologs as check dams was adopted.

Technical assistance and on-site consultation has been given by Mr. Daniel Schwartz, a soil scientist with the NoVa Soil & Water Conservation District, who has also arranged a survey of the current project site.

Utensil Replacement

2018-2019 Arlington, Virginia, USA

Alexy, Jonathan, Byron, Emma, Ashlee, Marcus, Mifra, Nathaly, Jason, Mirhran, Gabe, Taylor, Bryan, Katherine noted that their school cafeteria used plastic straws, plastic sporks, and paper napkins wrapped in plastic packages.

They proposed to replace them with separate options of single paper straws packaged in paper, biodegradable corn-based sporks, and paper napkins in dispensers, like in a restaurant.  They plan to put in paper towel dispensers for really bad spills.  That will save on using too many napkins.

The group will encourage students and staff to drink right from the cartons instead of using straws, but they will have paper straws available for those who want them.This will make a positive change to the watershed because the school will be reducing plastic and recycling paper and corn.

The group also hopes to educate people on the harm they are causing by using plastic straws, utensils and packaging. Maybe other schools will cut down too, causing the overall amount of plastic to decrease. This means the watershed will be no longer be harmed by the cafeteria and community trash each day.

Utensil replacement implementation

Save the Forest

2018-2019, Arlington, Virginia, USA

save the forest implementation

Dante, Rodrigo, Elle, Karin, Lauren, Corey, Simon, Ann, Burak, Raphael, and Sam were concerned that invasive species were killing trees and destroying their ability to filter water.  They researched species that were causing the problems in Four Mile Run, which empties into the Potomac River.

The students focused their attention on eliminating kudzu and bamboo shoots from the park near their school. They intend to cut the kudzu and uproot the bamboo shoots.  It is their hope that the healthy trees will be able to reduce the FCB and other pollutants in the runoff to the stream. The students have a further plan to add trees and bushes to the areas around the school.    

Now that the students can identify these invasive species, they will be able to protect trees and shrubs. The students have said they believe they will be able to educate their families and friends to help balance the natural filtration system for the watershed.

Pathways & Trashcans

Pathways and Trashcans implementation2019, Timonium, Maryland, USA

Ridgely’s green club is creating a pathway at our school and decorating trashcans to be placed near the pathway. The people doing this project were Natalie, Molly, Julia, and Lauren. This is very important because it lessens the pollution that affects our watershed. The pathway would be made from stepping stones, so it would prevent pollutants from draining into streams. The trashcans would keep rivers clean.

To improve the watershed, there will be decorated trashcans and colorful stepping stones on the school grounds. One solution will be a work of art that will help improve water quality.

Pathways and Trashcans implementation

The trashcans will be painted and maintained by the Green Club. The stepping stones will each be multiple small rocks combined into one stepping stone. Ridgely students and staff will also be painting the stepping stones.

This project will not take too long to complete but its effects will be long lasting. The trashcans will stay at our school for many years and will decrease the amount of litter. The stepping stones will be long lasting and will allow for pathways to be made without hurting our environment.

This is a local project that will mostly affect Ridgely Middle School. Our pathway will be near a storm drain so it will prevent runoff into that storm drain. new trashcans. We will also tell students where the trashcans will be located. We will also speak to students on how stepping stones are better for our watershed than sidewalks.

The materials that are needed for the trashcans are paint, paintbrushes, and trashcans. The materials that are needed for the stepping stones are paint, paintbrushes, and stones. Since we need paintbrushes for both the trashcans and stepping stones, we can reuse the paintbrushes. The total cost will be $253.06.

In conclusion Ridgley’s green club is making a stepping stone walkway at our school and painting trashcans to be placed around the walkway. This is highly important, so we can decrease the litter that enters our watershed.

Bio Retention Cell

2019, Fairfax, VA, USA

Students: Lauren Dick-Peddie, Elder Hernandez, Nathaniel Kirk-Popham, Maya Littman, Myles Jones

What if there was a way to filter water of sediments and chemicals when it goes into the ground? We see that a bio- retention cell is beneficial for maintaining and improving our watershed health. In order to help, we would like to revitalize the bio-retention cell at our school. A bio-retention cell is a rain garden with a rock pit before it, which acts as barrier to collect sediment while also stopping runoff and providing water to plants. Our bio-retention cell, needs maintenance, with planting of new native species and adding rocks too. One of the results we hope to achieve is to filter out nitrites, sediment, and garbage before it reaches Virginia’s rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

When repurposing the bio-retention cell we made it our goal to involve more people than just us alone. We have over a thousand students, who can get involved through volunteering with the after school eco-club. We can reach out to this audience by advertising and promoting eco-club, emphasizing on the incentive to get involved. We will organize community service days to engage the wider community and volunteers.

Bio Retention Cell project Not only do we want this project to benefit Lanier but we wish to expand this wonder all across the county. We believe that all schools should have the chance to experience and help care for our watershed. We will invite students from our feeder elementary school and volunteer form our high school as well. After all, the Chesapeake Bay is something shared of six states and we should, and will, treasure it!

The bio-retention cell has many environmental benefits. It is able to take in a lot of water which helps it filter out a big amount of sediment that comes from runoff water. Since there will be a layer of rocks to prevent any litter from coming through the runoff, water pollution will be reduced. With our cell and hopefully more to come, not only does it reduce the amount of trash getting into our bay, but it also reduces other pollutants such as road salt, sediment and animal feces.



Standing for Tomorrow

 2019, Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Standing for tomorrow Chesapeake Bay

The presence of mold in educational facilities is a major threat to everyone who works or studies in these facilities. Using our data we add to the growing body of evidence of climate change. This evidence provides another opportunity to publicly demonstrate how youth are affected by this crisis. Using our voice as youth in order to impact a greater cause that not only affects one as an individual but the person’s friends and future students at the school allowed a personal side to a much larger issue. Supporting change through legal policy with scientific evidence learned in class as well as researched using skills studied in the Earth Force process empowered students scientifically and allowed for their growth.

The overall solution will be to work with local politicians to create a policy that protects students from the mold in public schools. This policy will force school boards to overhaul rules concerning mold in schools. The policy will also help to protect Alexandria’s art-deco style school buildings from rotting and deteriorating from the inside out.

Bird Boxes and Benches

Bird boxes student action Chesapeake Bay2019, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

The Green Club at Ridgley Middle School wanted to build bird boxes and benches to add to a glen area in the school. The students that are involved are Annabelle and Helia. Right now, the glen area is completely unused, not very appealing, and not doing well in terms of health. The students’ goal is to make the glen area alive and healthy again.

Bird boxes student action Chesapeake Bay

Adding bird boxes and benches will benefit this project in many ways. Benches will motivate students, teachers, and other people who come to the school, to go outside and enjoy nature, as they can sit down and take in what they see. People will be more motivated to use the area and want to help make it livelier and more enjoyable, if it is maintained. Making the bird boxes will bring more life and aspects of nature to the school. The bird boxes will bring new plants and animals and will be doing something that improves aspects of nature. One could be air quality. When plants go through photosynthesis, they remove carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the air. That is obviously very beneficial to everyone! Plants also remove other intoxicants like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from air, soil, and water (Environmental Health Perspectives). Currently, there are many toxins in the air, so the final project will do well in removing them.

Bird boxes student action Chesapeake Bay

In conclusion, creating bird boxes and benches to put in the glen area, will benefit the school in so many ways. It will bring in more nature, add color, improve the glen area’s health, and make use of a large space, that currently has no use. The students believe that renovating this area of the school, will promote/ benefit the community in various ways.