June 9 was a damp day at North Salem Middle School/High School – but that wasn’t solely due to the weather. The school hosted Project WET, a global nonprofit program dedicated to educating communities about water: the way it connects societies, all of which depend on finite water resources; the importance of sustainable water management for social and economic stability; and the critical need for individuals to take responsibility for water resource stewardship.
The entire middle school participated in the day-long event, sponsored by Nestlé Waters, with students working their way through a series of five stations that illustrated various aspects of water use and water management.
These included Springing to Life, an activity that required students to understand and create a spring; Super Sleuths, a station that illustrated water-borne diseases; and Incredible Journey, in which students built a bracelet of beads that represented how water molecules move through living and nonliving things – from cloud to glacier to rain to plant and everything in between. One station required competing teams of students to fill a trash can with water by passing a small bucket along a line of students. “It illustrates how inefficient hand carrying water is,” explained one student, “and how hard,” she added.
“It was a great day,” said Assistant Principal George Bovino, who was on the event’s planning committee together with high school juniors Brandon Valentin and Billy Pearson and science teachers Melissa Valenti and Teresa Dzubak. More than 40 high school students, mostly from environmental clubs and the AP Environmental Science class, volunteered for the day.
Judging from a reflection sheet each student completed at the end of the day, “There was a great deal of individual learning,” said Dr. Bovino. “You could see a heightened awareness of the importance of water conservation and what an individual can do to make a difference.” Dr. Bovino anticipates that environmental clubs will take on water issues when they resume activities in the fall.