Water conservation partnership launched in Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA, March 16, 2010 -- Students at 15 Atlanta-area schools will take part in a unique water measurement activity as part of a new partnership between the National Environmental Education Foundation, Atlanta Public Schools, businesses and nonprofits...

ATLANTA, GA, March 16, 2010 -- Students at 15 Atlanta-area schools will take part in a unique water measurement activity as part of a new partnership between the National Environmental Education Foundation, Atlanta Public Schools, businesses and nonprofits.

"Be Water Wise Atlanta," a project of the National Environmental Education Foundation, includes math, science and language activities focused on water conservation at school and at home, building awareness of this precious resource. Students city wide, from kindergarten to 12th grade, will participate in the signature environmental education event, the second such program following "Be Water Wise Miami" last spring.

"This program can be a very powerful lesson for K-12 students to see their studies and their experiences have an impact in their schools, homes and community," said Diane Wood, president of the National Environmental Education Foundation. "Through our science-based curriculum, training and innovative lesson plans, we know Be Water Wise Atlanta will again serve as a model for public-private educational partnerships."

Atlanta faces unique challenges in water management. According to the U.S. Geological Society, Atlanta's primary water sources are small and greatly affected by droughts. With over five million inhabitants, the metro area has only one sizeable stream, the Chattahoochee River. Sixteen counties that make up the North Georgia Water Planning District use 652 million gallons of water per day, most of which is consumed by households.

"The City of Atlanta is no stranger to water issues that threaten to harm our community and our environment. The fact that our children are taking action to bring awareness to this issue should serve as a lesson to all of us. We have made progress in light of recent droughts in the Atlanta area, but there is certainly room for improvement," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "We are proud to take part in Be Water Wise Atlanta as we seek to empower our students with the knowledge to make wise choices with our water resources."

Participating students will also be among the first in the country to explore the connections between water and energy in the classroom, using EE Week's innovative interdisciplinary teaching materials on the water-energy connection. Generating power consumes 3 percent of our nation's water annually while 13 percent of the energy produced in the United States is used to treat, transport and heat our water. In Georgia, power production requires more water than any other activity; the average Georgia household indirectly uses nearly 2,000 gallons of water per month as a result of electricity use. Students will study the interdependence between water and energy and learn how conserving water saves energy, and vice versa.

"APS has always striven to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly in its operations, but we have taken these efforts to the next level in recent years," said APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall. "Be Water Wise Atlanta gives our students a chance to take part in an important conservation and environmental education initiative that will help them to be part of this effort."

Partners include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Project WET, Conserve Water Georgia, Georgia Green and Healthy Schools, the Georgia Aquarium, the Center for Education Integrating Mathematics, Science and Technology at Georgia Tech and the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management.

Atlanta-based Johnson Controls Inc. is supporting Be Water Wise Atlanta both financially and with its engineers who will train teachers and custodians to help students perform water measurement activities.

"Johnson Controls is proud to partner with educational organizations like NEEF that are committed to environmental stewardship specifically towards student education and empowerment," said Felicia McDade, K-12 education regional manager for Johnson Controls. "Innovative programs like Be Water Wise Atlanta will reap long term benefits for not only Atlanta Public Schools but the entire community, as they see how each dollar spent on energy can positively impact the environment."

"Be Water Wise Atlanta" takes place as part of National Environmental Education Week. From April 11-17, thousands of schools and millions of students will participate in a full week of environmentally themed lessons and activities in K-12 classrooms, nature centers, parks, zoos, museums and aquariums. EE Week is the largest organized environmental event in the United States, increasing the impact of Earth Day.

Participating "Be Water Wise Atlanta" schools:

A. Philip Randolph Elementary School
Burgess-Peterson Academy
Dunwoody Elementary School
E. Rivers Elementary School
G.A. Towns Elementary School

Bunche Middle School
B.E.S.T. Academy (Business Engineering Science Technology)
Coretta Scott King Young Women's Leadership Academy
Samuel M. Inman Middle School
Kennedy Middle School

Carver High School (Health Sciences and Research)
Frederick Douglass High School
South Paulding High School
Daniel McLaughlin Therrell High School

For more information about EE Week and Be Water Wise Atlanta, visit http://www.eeweek.org.

Knowledge to Live By
The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) provides knowledge to trusted professionals who, with their credibility, amplify messages to national audiences to solve everyday environmental problems. Together, we generate lasting positive change. NEEF partners with professionals in health, education, media, business and public land management to promote daily actions for helping people protect and enjoy the environment. Through our primary programs -- Classroom Earth, National Public Lands Day, National Environmental Education Week, Business and Environment, Earth GaugeĀ® and Health & Environment -- we offer Americans knowledge to live by. To learn more, call (202) 833-2933 or visit www.neefusa.org.

National Environmental Education Week connects educators with environmental resources to promote K-12 students' understanding of the environment.


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