Willows Calif.—Mike Buckley’s fifth grade students at Murdock Elementary School in Willows California won the 2018 Cal Water Challenge grand prize for their efforts to protect drinking water at school and throughout the community.
The grand prize included a $3,500 grant for the classroom and a tent camping trip to the Santa Monica Mountains in conjunction with the NatureBridge environmental science education program.
The Cal Water Challenge is a collaboration between Cal Water and the North American Association for Environmental Education.
It is open annually to students and teachers in grades 4-6 in schools served by Cal Water.
It asks the participants to adopt a project that addresses a local or global water-related issue.
Buckley’s student’s project title was Protect Our Drinking Water.
The students established a plan to protect the water supply, educated the community on how and why they should help, researched water quality, met with local experts on groundwater, and visited a wastewater facility.
The students then applied their findings by installing 25 storm drain markers to reduce littering into waterways, testing local water quality in 15 locations; and designing, engineering, testing, and redesigning water filters.
Students then shared their knowledge by presenting their findings to 16 classrooms.
They created and distributed a brochure to limit the impact of potentially hazardous waste on the local water supply that was featured in local newspapers.
Third place went to Sierra View Elementary School in Chico.
The students at Sierra View were inspired to address the state’s drought issue by learning how to filter and reuse water that might otherwise be wasted.
The classroom won a $2,000 grant plus a Cal Water prize pack for each student.