American Water Hydro School highlights water heroes

Americans continue to ways to alleviate pollution, especially as it relates to water. Even children are "going green," namely a group of fourth grade students from Philadelphia's Roxborough section. They are participating in the newly created American Water Hydro School, an interactive web portal aimed at creating a new generation of "watershed heroes." Here, students and educators can gain knowledge about protecting the planet's most essential resource through online games and activities...

Interactive web community gives kids a fun way to help with America's top environmental concern

"When the well is dry, we know the worth of water."
~ BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Poor Richard's Almanac, 1746

PHILADELPHIA, PA, & VOORHEES, NJ, March 21, 2007 -- Of all environmental problems, Americans say they worry most about water pollution. And rightfully so: while one-half of the drinking water in the U.S. comes from rivers, more than one-third of our rivers and streams are considered "impaired". The ground water sources that account for the other half of our drinking water are just as vulnerable and many aquifers are affected by pollution even though the problems aren't so readily seen. The good news is that all across the nation, more and more people are recognizing that their personal activities do impact water quality -- and that they can actually improve the situation by taking simple actions and getting involved, whatever their age.

A group of fourth grade students from Philadelphia's Roxborough section, for example, has replanted the streambank near their school to prevent erosion and filter pollutants that would otherwise wash into the Schuylkill River. The Schuylkill is a major source of drinking water for the city. In north-central Pennsylvania, a ninth grade student tackled one of the region's most insidious water quality problems -- acid mine drainage -- because he realized that the polluted water from his local stream feeds into the Susquehanna River, and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay. Knowing that ordinary people are making a difference for their own local waterways provides hope and motivates others to act.

One of the nation's leading water resource companies has partnered with a Philadelphia-based non-profit to celebrate these "water heroes" and inspire others to follow their lead through a kid friendly web portal, the American Water Hydro School.

"In the thirty years since the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act became law, a tremendous amount has been done to protect our water resources," says Kimberly Cooper, Director of External Communications at American Water from the company's Voorhees, New Jersey Corporate Headquarters," particularly on the industrial front. Today, the country's most serious water quality problem is nonpoint source pollution, or run-off -- and that's where individuals come into play."

We expect a constant supply of clean drinking water, but few of us recognize that our behavior can actually impact the process that makes water available with the turn of a tap. "We demand pollution-free waterways," says Ms. Cooper, "but not many of us understand how our daily actions affect the local rivers and streams from which our drinking water is drawn. The American Water Hydro School was created to make these connections for our young people, and to educate and entertain the coming generation of water heroes. It's a great place for children to share their stories and learn from others. Who knows, they might even get their parents involved."

Maria Erades, Executive Director of GreenTreks Network, wholeheartedly agrees. "The American Water Hydro School is a perfect example of GreenTreks mission in action," says Ms. Erades. "By showing that people from many walks of life and very different communities are taking action to address America's top environmental concern, clean water -- we're inspiring others to follow their lead. The web site has games, video clips, and plenty of background information about water issues, along with suggested activities for parents and teachers to do with their children at home or out in their local watershed. The best part is that kids can share their stories with their friends -- and become water heroes themselves."

The American Water Hydro School is kid-friendly, but it's not for children only: the site is also a valuable teaching resource. On the web at www.amwaterkids.org

The American Water Hydro School is a project of American Water and GreenTreks Network and was developed with input from numerous water education organizations.

Project Partners:
American Water (www.amwater.com) has been providing high quality water, wastewater, and other related services for more than a century. Serving over 17 million people and operating in 29 states and Canada, American Water is headquartered in Voorhees, NJ.

GreenTreks Network (www.greentreks.org) is an award-winning non profit communications organization dedicated to educating people about the interconnectedness of environmental, societal, economic, and individual health. GreenTreks fills a vital role on behalf of the environment: Communicating the power of the individual in creating meaningful change.

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Also see: "Utility to offer service line protection program"

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