Throughout July, students from the Summer Work Ready program at Concilio de Organizaciones Hispanas (Concilio) spent time with Fairmount Water Works (FWW) staff learning about urban watershed issues and what they can do to keep our waterways clean and healthy.
Students spent time at FWW, collecting water samples from the Schuylkill River, conducting chemistry tests, and looking for zooplankton under microscopes. They participated in FWW’s ongoing research on freshwater mussels by taking allometric measurements of a cohort of FWW mussels at the Discovery Center. In August, these Future Watershed Steward wrapped up their summer program by engaging in a stewardship project at the End of Summer Carnival at Concilio.
At the Carnival, students decorated tote bags and engaged the public in participating in the process of painting the bags as well. A Future Watershed Stewards logo was stenciled on one side and logos of organizations involved were stenciled on the other side. Once dry, the students handed the bags out to people at the event.
This stewardship project was created with the goal in mind of helping Philadelphians remember to bring reusable bags when they go shopping because of the many negative effects on the environment of using plastic bags. Philadelphians use about a billion plastic bags each year. Unless properly disposed of, many of these bags become litter in our waterways. In order to reduce single-use plastic waste and improve environmental quality and cleanliness of the city, Philadelphia banned plastic bags in April 2022. Pollution is one of the urban watershed issues that the Future Watershed Stewards learned about in the program and keeping litter, such as single-use plastic grocery bags, out of our waterways is one clear way they can make a difference.
This program was funded by The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and supported by the U.S. Department of Education.