Student representatives from eight schools in APS (and one from Fulton County) gave Atlanta City Council their preliminary findings in the Be Water Wise Atlanta project sponsored by the National Environmental Education Foundation. Students mixed videos, poems and raps in with PowerPoint presentations as some of the council members observed.
It was certainly an educational experience, as students identified water-related issues at their school and then developed ways to conserve water. Bunche Middle School students kicked off the presentations. Some of the statistics were startling: according to research by the Carver School of Health Sciences & Research, Georgia uses 80 percent of the water from Lakes Lanier and Allatoona, and more to the point for the school, of its 45 water sinks, only 53 percent operated at what they determined to be an efficient level. Students from Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy said they are working with an Eco-Force Team that will work to provide more efficient water use on campus. Students from Therrell Educational Complex found 130 ways to improve water use, but, as one student comforted the audience, they offered only five easy steps for the purpose of its presentation (including the suggestion of collecting rainwater from drainage pipes to use to water plants).
The contingent from E. Rivers Elementary offered up a poem before getting serious with the fact the school uses 14,067 gallons of water a day, and recommended students bring a reusable water bottle from home and to be diligent about turning off running water faucets as a way to conserve. Douglass High students discussed the importance of understanding how groundwater affects their campus, and suggested the possibility of implementing a water-purification system at their school. Towns Elementary students delighted the audience with their skit, while Inman Middle students noted that their total annual water bill was $23,501.70, and encouraged schools to work with their facilities managers to fix leaky faucets and replace poor-performing toilets and appliances.
Out of the mouths of babes, indeed.
“For those of you who were pessimistic about the future of our environment, I hope you changed your mind after listening to these presentations,” said Diane Wood, president of the National Environment Education Foundation. The event also was attended by Atlanta City Council President Caesar Mitchell, who welcomed the students. Robert Hunter (pictured above, lower right), commissioner of the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, thanked the students for their hard work. They were later treated to pizza and a presentation in the council chambers.
NOTE: The students are shown in photos above in the order of their presenation, as written in the above text. So students from Bunche Middle are pictured in the top row far left, the Carver students in the middle, and so on.