Earth Day 2015 – Collaboration leads to service-learning
Last spring the Bonham Rotary Club partnered with H20 for Life, an organization that engages schools and other organizations in the United States to raise awareness and the funds to provide water, sanitation and hygiene education for schools in developing countries. Evans Intermediate School and their local Rotary Club collaborated to connect students to learn about the global water crisis and take part in a fantastic event to raise funds to change the lives of students in their partner school while also taking local actions to raise awareness of water conservation. Together they developed a World Water Awareness Day for the 6th grade class at the school.
The day began with the 6th graders gathered in the IW Evans cafeteria. Rotarian President, Brad Dardaganian, shared slides of the actual school where the well was drilled in Okunguru, Uganda. We take for granted, the ability to turn on a faucet and get safe, clean drinking water as well as easy access to a bathroom! Around the world that is not the case. Bonham City Manager, Bill Shipp, provided a presentation about local water systems, how clean drinking water is provided, and why it is such a major part of a city’s work to ensure the infrastructure for providing water. He also mentioned recent drought conditions that existed locally, connecting the local and global issues of water.
The day continued with the 6th graders heading to Powder Creek Park where they had a picnic lunch on the spacious grounds of the park. The class split into three groups and rotated through different activities. One activity, led by Rotarian volunteers, engaged students to chart their own water use over the course of a week and discussed how they could become more aware and what actions they might take to reduce their water use. They discussed how water conservation would not only impact their family’s budget, but water availability on a larger scale.
During the second activity students developed and tested a filtration process using water from the creek; and processed it through gravel and sand into two liter plastic bottles. Students were amazed at the results- cleaner water through a simple method.
The third activity was the most anticipated – the “Walk for Water”. The walk simulates the daily walk that millions of people around the world must make every day to collect water- carrying up to 40 pounds! Evans students carried one gallon jugs (8 pounds) over the 1 mile lap of Powder Creek Park pathway. The group that was able to fill a 32-gallon trashcan with the most water after their walk won a pizza lunch. It was a great opportunity for the 6th graders to learn about something as basic – yet as vulnerable – as our water supply. It also raised awareness of what it is like for those around the world who don’t have access to clean water.
Students and Rotary members worked together to conserve water locally, raise awareness and raised funds to help a partner school around the world. Students learned that their actions had impact!
What can you do to celebrate Earth Day?
Here are a few ideas:
- Clean up a stream
- Make posters to raise awareness of an issue
- Pledge to do your part to conserve water and protect water for future generations