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WWMC Superstars


WWMC Superstars are individuals who have demonstrated incredible dedication and contribution to the World Water Monitoring Challenge program.

 

 

Rosa Sousa, Brazil


Sousant >> Visit the Água Educa blog page 


WWMC:
What drew you to the program—why did you want to get involved?

RS: The opportunity to reflect on the changes that our consumption habits have on the planet and our life quality, as well as the challenge of finding solutions through practices adopted by environmental education to minimize these impacts. It is clearly necessary to work on awareness, beginning with water courses, that involves youngsters and awakes a conscious posture for new attitudes.


WWMC: O que o atraiu você para o programa, por que você quis se envolver?  

RS: Monitorar a qualidade da água é uma proposta para refletir sobre como os nossos hábitos de consumo interferem na qualidade de vida do planeta e encontrar soluções através de práticas adotadas pela educação ambiental para minimizar esses impactos. É necessário um trabalho de sensibilização, que começa com o monitoramento de um curso d’água, envolve os jovens e desperta uma postura consciente de novas atitudes. 


WWMC: Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events special?

RS: Yes, besides water monitoring, students are committed to elaborate an action plan for future mobilization of recovering and preserving water courses. We also held several workshops focusing on environmental issues. The aim of the workshops is to educate participants about the impacts of our actions on the water and demonstrate, in a playful manner, the various possibilities for reusing different materials. Our partnership with the ENO program strengthens the work on riparian planting. Parallel to our main goal is to raise awareness about the importance of water conservation. We noticed that results can be achieved by changing consumer habits and raising awareness of selective collection and recycling. Behavior change happens through education, mobilization, and effective actions to reduce our impacts on the planet.


WWMC: Você combina outras atividades com o monitoramento básico de água para fazer seus eventos WWMC especial?  

RS: Sim, além do monitoramento da água, os estudantes são incentivados a elaborar um plano de ação para futura mobilização de recuperação e preservação do curso de água que foi monitorado. Também promovemos diversas oficinas com foco em temas ambientais. O objetivo das oficinas é sensibilizar os participantes sobre os impactos das nossas ações na água e mostrar de forma lúdica as diversas possibilidades de reaproveitamento de diferentes materiais. A parceria com o Programa ENO fortalece o trabalho de plantio de árvores nas matas ciliares. Paralelamente ao nosso objetivo principal que é conscientizar sobre a importância da preservação da água, percebemos que outros resultados podem ser alcançados, como a mudança de hábitos de consumo e a conscientização da coleta seletiva e reciclagem. Para que a mudança de postura aconteça é necessário um conjunto de ações educativas como sensibilização, mobilização e ações efetivas para redução dos impactos no planeta. 


WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

RS: Environmental awareness through water monitoring is one of the most effective ways to guarantee the preservation of water resources. Students learn through practice about the importance of water preservation and propagate these actions to other students and schools.


WWMC: Como você tem visto a influência WWMC nos alunos que dele participam?  

RS: A conscientização ambiental através do monitoramento da água é uma das maneiras mais eficazes de garantir a preservação dos recursos hídricos. Assim, os estudantes aprendem na prática a importância de preservar a água e multiplicam essas ações para outros estudantes e escolas. 


WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

RS: I´ve been involved with WWMC since 2011 when I received the first kit through the ENO program, and we started the monitoring work with a small group. Our challenge was to multiply this action to reach the entire river bed, monitoring and incentivizing the students to develop a preservation proposal. It was surprising to see the growth of student involvement and their actions multiply to include other water courses. We distributed many kits in Brazil, and the actions continue to multiply. It would be interesting to promote work between young students focused on investigation, with emphasis on the observation and experimentation of the water monitoring, and promote a conference to share results.


WWMC: De que forma você gostaria de ver o WWMC desenvolver nos próximos 3-5 anos?  

RS: Estou envolvida com o programa WWMC desde 2011 quando recebi o primeiro kit através do Programa ENO e começamos o trabalho de monitoramento com um pequeno grupo de estudantes e o nosso desafio era multiplicar esse trabalho para conseguir monitorar todo o curso do rio e incentivar os estudantes numa proposta de preservação. Foi surpreendente o envolvimento dos estudantes para multiplicar essas ações e monitorar outros cursos d’água. Distribuímos muitos kits no Brasil e as ações estão se multiplicando. Seria interessante incentivar o trabalho de Iniciação Científica entre os jovens estudantes pautada na investigação, com ênfase na observação e na experimentação do monitoramento da água e promover uma conferência para compartilhar os resultados. 


WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

RS: When analyzing the river´s water, we perceive that one of the greatest problems in Brazil is waste that has been incorrectly disposed.  This is linked to consumption incentives—we acquire unnecessary products, and everything we consume impacts not only the water but the health of the planet. Through monitoring, the students put into practice the theory and experience that our actions have an impact on the sustainability of the planet, as well as our own lives. 


WWMC: Que conselho você daria para os outros que gostariam de se envolver em WWMC?  

RS: Ao analisar as águas dos rios percebemos que um dos maiores problemas no Brasil é o lixo, descartado de maneira incorreta vinculada ao incentivo do consumo, pois adquirimos coisas que não são necessárias, e tudo que consumimos produz impactos não só nas águas, mas na vida do planeta. Através do monitoramento os estudantes colocam em prática a teoria e vivenciam que nossas ações têm um impacto seja na sustentabilidade do planeta e até mesmo em nossas próprias vidas. 

 
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Ana Tecau, Romania


Superstar_TecauWWMC: What drew you to the program—why did you want to get involved?

AT: I moved from a city to a village school nine years ago and promised myself to help my new students to become aware of the world they live in so that they may become as [knowledgeable] as their colleagues from city schools. This could be done by getting them involved in international projects. One of them has been Comenius Multilateral Projects that have the environment as a topic. When the World Water Monitoring Day program started, we enrolled full of enthusiasm and ready for this new challenge. We are lucky to live in an area with a rich clean water network that must be maintained for the future generations. The kits helped us a lot with the experiments.


WWMC: Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events special?

AT: Primary and secondary students from our school are engaged in our WWMD program. Almost half of our students commute from the four neighboring villages and so the data are gathered from at least five sites during the school year. We organize field trips to local waterbodies and monitor the water quality parameters. We invite guest speakers to make presentations about the hydrologic cycle, water conservation, and water ecosystems. On World Water Day we have water quizzes and drama, make posters, and conduct water experiments. 


WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

AT: Our students have been enthusiastic in taking part in this program. The kits are easy-to-use and they have become very popular amongst our students. They love using technical names, talking about scientific units, and asking questions about unexpected pH values. The students that took part in the project in previous years always want to volunteer in the following years. The 11-year-old students joined the RiverXchange project in which they could use some of the knowledge they gained in the WWMC program. When the weather was nice they invited the kindergarten kids to learn how to monitor the water.


WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

AT: I think it would be great if the WWMC program could be integrated with the school curriculum. Parents and local authorities’ representatives would be involved in these activities, too. We would like to get in touch with schools from all over the world in order to share experience and practices in collaborative projects.


WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

AT: Just register, get the kits, and show the students what they have to do. They will be motivated to take part in the activities as it’s an easy and practical way to learn about water by doing. Just let the kids do it – they are very creative! And if you need help, just contact WWMC and you will get all the support you need. 


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Kavita Rattan, India


Superstar_RattanWWMC: What drew you to the program—why did you want to get involved?

KR: Sustainable water resources management and water security have been key areas of my work as Founder, Green Vigil Foundation. The WWMC program with shared objectives of enhancing awareness in communities on water-related issues offered a great opportunity to engage school students in understanding local waterbodies through a scientific monitoring program. The donation of LaMotte water monitoring kits by WWMC has provided an impetus to my work on water conservation by evoking keen interest in students on water ecosystems and the critical need to preserve this precious resource.


WWMC: Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events special?

KR: Our WWMC program engages middle and high school students in various schools in Central India. The essence of the WWMC event is the field visit to local waterbodies and on-site monitoring of water quality parameters. Additionally, each WWMC event is combined with a scientific presentation on the hydrologic cycle, water conservation practices, and water ecosystems. The presentation is followed by interactive sessions that encourage students to share their data, interpret results, and formulate a project report on their observations as part of their Environmental Sciences curriculum. Other follow-up activities, including a water quiz for students, are also implemented as part of the WWMC program. 


WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

KR: The response of students for the WWMC program has been highly enthusiastic. The easy-to-use LaMotte kits are extremely popular amongst students, especially since many schools have limited facilities to conduct such on-site monitoring events. Through our WWMC programs in various schools, we have observed an enhanced awareness in students on water-related issues, water conservation, and judicious use of water ecosystems. Many students have been motivated to initiate activities that supplement the main WWMC event and spread the message of water conservation. These incude forming groups that encourage citizens to adopt practices for reuse and recycling through door-to-door mobilization in their neighborhoods.


WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

KR: It would be wonderful to see the program reach more schools, encompassing a higher number of students. Also, it would be useful for students if the WWMC program could be integrated with the school curriculum providing an opportunity to students to relate to their water ecosystems, facilitating their sustainable use.


WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

KR: With the planet facing a severe water crisis that is expected to be exacerbated due to climate change, the WWMC program with its unique, innovative approach to water quality issues, provides an excellent opportunity to involve students and communities in water conservation endeavors that can facilitate sustainable management of water resources. 


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Nilgün Erentay, Turkey


Superstar_ErentayWWMC: What drew you to the program—why did you want to get involved?

NE: I have been working on environmental issues by carrying out many national and international environmental projects with schoolchildren since 1998. Most of the water resources and wetlands, in which many endangered and threatened species all over the world live, have been rapidly becoming closer to the edge of extinction. Wetlands, natural treasures, are very rich natural areas making home to numerous species. On the other hand, due to the increasing water pollution issues, water access have been becoming more and more limited for humans in most parts of the world nowadays. Therefore anything related to water has been my core study subject with children. I strongly believe that if we want to make a concrete difference in the world , water should be the very first lesson we should take up to become dedicated stewards for our planet. I would like to express my gratitude to Water Monitoring Challenge Organization for I have have been receiving genuine and continuous support in achieving this goal.


WWMC: Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events special?

NE: Yes. I have been leading a project concerning endangered species and their wetland habitats since 2005. I started with three schools in 2005 and in 2013 the number of schools has risen up to 50, including preschools and science clubs. Within the context of this project, the students and teachers at schools carry out local research about the species and wetlands nearby their schools, prepare exhibitions both at school and in their local areas, collaborate with universities and NGOs, produce hands on crafts and artwork in the name of studied wetlands and species, carry out laboratory work at their school, and conduct hands on testing experiments at scheduled field trips. A book comprising of 200 hands-on activities produced by my project schools has recently been published. 

On 20th October, 2012, First International Childrens’ Summit on Hands on Science and Environmental Education was organised by me at Mediterranean University in the city of Antalya within the frame of 9th International Conference on Hands on Science. The response was beyond our expectations. More than a thousand kids, 70 science and nature stands from schools throughout Turkey, as well as out of country including water monitoring stands and workshops took place at the Summit. Many workshops and science demonstrations, presentations by teachers and students, including preschool kids were delivered for the visitors. A photography exhibition titled as ‘Nature through Childrens’ Eyes’ comprising of Portuguese, Palestinian, Romanian, and Turkish children was also held at the Summit. Robotic shows and prehistoric science shows were performed, and a certificate ceremony for our stewards of the planet was held at the Summit. This Summit will take place in the proceeding years in Turkey.


WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

NE: The students in the project are administered pre- and post-tests at the very beginning and at the end of the project term. As far as the outcomes are concerned, the difference in between is very meaningful on scientific terms each year. On the other hand, there is difference concerning the awareness, attitudes, and responsible behaviours of children towards the environment. The students taking part in the project in previous years always want to proceed voluntarily in the following years. These students act as senior guides to their schoolmates in the project and assist their project teacher at their schools. I strongly believe that acting as stewards our planet will be their first priority for these children no matter what their professions are in the future.


WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

NE: As far as Turkey is concerned, I really am dreaming of every single child in Turkey to have water education and practise it in the field. It helps them both to become aware of the core issues that our planet has been struggling with and to become educated about practising real science in their natural settings by testing, obtaining and evaluating data, discussing with their groups, interpreting and analyzing. It helps them to live science by experimental learning through outdoor education, which I believe is the very significant aspect of sustainable environmental education that should be developed accordingly. I am hoping to reach every single child in Turkey in order to accomplish this goal. I know I will always have a great supporter, Water Monitoring Challenge, beside me through this meaningful journey. I also have colleagues from Tanzania, Romania, Palestine, and Portugal who would like to participate in our project, as well, and conduct water monitoring tests in the field. My project will be centered around water monitoring with the participation of many schools throughout the world with the support of World Water Monitoring Challenge.


WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

NE: My advice will be very simple to this question. Getting in touch with World Water Monitoring Challenge through the website is the easiest and simplest way of getting involved in water monitoring as far as my personal experience is concerned. Once they contact WWMC, they will get all the genuine support they will need. Thank you very much indeed to WWMC for making me feel that I have been a member of a big, loving, and caring family of stewards for this planet and making this dream come true. 


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José Brenes Andre, Costa Rica

 Superstar_BrenesWWMC: What drew you to the program—why did you want to get involved?
WWMC:  ¿Qué le atrajo del programa? 

JBA:  The number of people interested in water conservation is on the rise, especially among those related with children. Although they are willing to give a helping hand, quite often they lack non expensive resources to keep kids interest. They all agree that a regular speech has no lasting effect.

Hands on experiences have shown teachers to have a more lasting impact. WWMC kit enables them to do so in a simple but scientific way. Add to this the possibility of sharing data with other young lads around the world, and you have a rewarding experience.

As a scientist myself, I am convinced that it is necessary to have reliable data to devise even simple solutions to any problem. This, of course, also applies to water preservation. WWMC kits, on account of its price and easiness of use for kids, turn into a powerful instrument to gather simple but meaningful data for kids to understand what is going on in water bodies nearby their communities.

JBA:  El número de personas interesadas en la conservación del agua es cada vez mayor, especialmente entre aquellos que de una u otra manera están relacionados con niños. Aunque desean brindarles ayuda, a menudo carecen de recursos baratos para mantener el interés de los niños. Todos concuerdan en que una simple charla no tiene un efecto a largo plazo. 

Por el contrario, como los profesores han notado, la participación de los niños en experiencias en que juegan una parte activa tiene un impacto más duradero. Añádele a esto la posibilidad de compartir sus datos con otros jóvenes alrededor del mundo, y tendrá una experiencia gratificante. 

Como científico, estoy convencido de que es necesario tener datos confiables para poder diseñar soluciones, aun las más simples, a cualquier problema. Esto aplica a problemas de preservación del agua. Los kits provistos por WWMC, debido a su bajo precio y facilidad de uso para los niños, se vuelve en un poderosos instrumento para que los niños obtengan datos simples pero significativos para entender lo que sucede en cuerpos de agua cercanos a sus comunidades. 


WWMC: Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events special?
WWMC:  ¿Combina otras actividades con las del monitoreo de agua para hacer los eventos del WWMC algo especial? 

JBA: The 25 primary school kids, and their 5 teachers working with us, have pledged to once a week gather data for at least 5 sites during 9 months. Hence, every week it is a WWMC event! The main idea is to show that water monitoring has to be an ongoing process, and every day commitment.

JBA: Los 25 niños de primaria, junto a las 5 maestras que trabajan con ellos, se han comprometido a tomar un set de datos cada semana, incluso durante las vacaciones, durante al menos 9 meses. Por ello, cada semana es un evento WWMC. La idea principal es mostrar que el monitoreo del agua es u proceso continuo, un compromiso diario. 


WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?
WWMC: ¿Cómo ha influenciado WWMC a los niños que participan en él? 

JBA: Young kids have been touched by WWMC in several ways: 

  • They see themselves as fully recognized scientists: they use technical names, talk about scientific units (degree Celsius, parts per million, etc.). 
  • Easy to handle instruments made scientific inquiry an appealing endeavor.
  • Teachers are also learning the difficulties behind a set of data: unexpected pH values generate hard to answer questions from the kids, kids safety forced to change data collection patterns, and so forth.

JBA:  Los niños que han participado en WWMC han sido afectados de varias maneras: 

  • Ellos se perciben a sí mismos como científicos en toda regla: usan términos técnicos, incorporan unidades científicas en su conversación (graos Celsius, partes por millón, etc.) 
  • Los instrumentos fáciles de usar vuelven la investigación científica una empresa atractiva. 
  • Las maestras también están aprendiendo las dificultades detrás de un conjunto de datos: valores de pH no esperados generan interrogantes interesantes, la seguridad de los niños en la toma de datos fuerza cambios en el programa de toma de datos, etc. 

 

WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?
WWMC:  ¿En qué direcciones le gustaría que la WWMC se desarrolle en los próximos 3 a 5 años? 

JBA: The way I see it, WWMC can create the opportunities to a more involved participation of those who care for water preservation. I recall when WWMC stressed a single day as the important one for water. Lately I saw it transformed into a program with more continuous in time activity. Proof of that is the name changed from MONITORING DAY to CHALLENGE. In the years to come, I foresee WWMC allowing associates from all around the world giving it a helping hand in more activities than only use of kits: educational resources in different languages being posted in the web site, an electronic forum where the participating teachers could exchange ideas on how to use the WWMC kits, interactive crossword puzzles, and so forth.

JBA: Como lo veo, la WWMC podría crear oportunidades para lograr un mayor involucramiento de parte de aquellos que se preocupan por la reservación del agua. Recuerdo los días en que WWMC enfatizaba la toma de datos para un día en específico. Luego la vi transformarse en un programa con actividades más continuas en el tiempo. Prueba de ello es el cambio de nombre, de MONITOREO a DESAFIO. En los años venideros, veo a WWMC permitiendo a sus asociados alrededor del mundo prestándoles ayuda en otras áreas demás del uso de los kits: colocando en el sitio web recursos educacionales en diversos idiomas, foros interactivos donde maestros participantes puedan intercambiar ideas sobre como utilizar los kits, crucigramas interactivos, etc. 


WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

WWMC: ¿Qué consejos le daría a otros para que se integren a WWMC? 

JBA: 

  • Take advantage of the opportunity to interact with others who share the same philosophy.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to use an easy to use instrument to scientifically monitor water quality in your community.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to get a global perspective of the water state.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to instill in kids mind the importance of preserving the water, showing they can make the difference.
JBA: 
  • Aprovechar la oportunidad de interactuar con otros que comparten la misma filosofía. 
  • Aprovechar la oportunidad de utilizar un instrumento fácil de usar para monitorear científicamente la calidad del agua de su comunidad. 
  • Aprovechar la oportunidad de obtener una perspectiva global del estado del agua. 
  • Aprovechar la oportunidad de convencer a los niños la importancia de preservar el agua, mostrándoles que pueden hacer la diferencia. 

     

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Safe Zarrog, Sudan


Superstar_ZarrogWWMC: What drew you to the program—why did you want to get involved?

SZ: My first exposure to WWMC program was in 2007 with voluntary organizations working in the field of water resources. I added to it my expertise in water business and the importance of maintaining awareness of this important resource.


WWMC: Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events special?

SZ: At the beginning we used only those provided kits, but after we gained experience, we managed to combine those tools with other activities in the schools.


WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

SZ: In general the participants were very excited to take part in the WWMC event that is being internationally celebrated, and specifically during the sampling and taking the measurements. They found it very useful while obtaining the results. They showed their intention to transfer their experience to other students through the school/ faculty students' activities.


WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

SZ: In the next 3-5 years, I hope that to see this program within the curricula of educational institutions and thus cover all parts of the country. I would also like to see meetings organized between the participating groups from other countries to promote the exchange of ideas and constructive suggestions in order to bring the program to the top level.


WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

SZ: WWMC is a very easy and interesting program to share with others and educates about the priceless commodity of water that we cant live without. 


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Luis Pinto Alvarez, Chile


Superstar_PintoWWMC: What drew you to the WWMC program—why did you want to get involved?

LPA: My first exposure to WWMC program was in 2005 when our one-year old community organization called AquaSendas (it means trails of water) received funding to work with public schools in Central Chile and Patagonia to study climate change and the impact in aquatic ecosystems. Searching the web we learned about the LaMotte WWMD kits, we got in contact with the organizers and pretty soon we received the first donation of water kits. Funded by COPAS Sur-Austral, an oceanographic research program at Universidad de Concepcion, we grew from 5 urban ponds monitored in 2005 to more than 50 aquatic environments last year and a Water Fair at the end of the year where more than 5.000 students had the opportunity to do at least one measurement with the kit. AquaSendas mission is to create awareness among local public schools about the need to conserve our water environments.


WWMC: Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events more meaningful?

LPA: Initially the water kit was used just to do the monitoring in each one of the waterbodies chosen for the event, and then we thought to maintain the program during the whole school year by doing student research where the water kit can give some light about seasonal changes in the studied water environments. We also created in 2004 a gathering at the end of the year called The Water Explorers Annual Meeting, this year will be our 9th meeting, where participating teachers and students meet to listen to a keynote speaker about a water issue and then formed groups to compete against each other earning points when answering WWMC related questions, discuss water issues and make new friends.


WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

LPA: The kit is so simple to use and so engaging that students are eager to do measurements all year around, so that is where we go the next step of complexity and get them involved in the development of a hypothesis which can be tested by doing a time series monitoring of the site chosen. I teach 8 hours of Natural Science in a highly vulnerable public middle school in my hometown. The water kit is their laboratory; we cover the whole scientific method just playing with the pH measurements of water they bring from where they live and then we get outside taking water samples from the surrounding. It is a great learning experience for students, teachers and parents. As important as the concepts they learn and the ability to use the water kit is the development of social skills as we perform the monitoring. I have seen a great improvement of team work, leadership, communication, role assignment, self-care and self-esteem among my students.

Last year two initiatives based on water analysis with the LaMotte water kit will be remembered for years to come. Firstly, a group of middle-school girls from a local public school studied a common aquatic plant that grows in our urban ponds. For certain amount of time they measured the pH, nitrate and phosphate of pond water and well water where the plant was cultivated, discovering the concentration of phosphate was reduced effectively within a week, making the plant very useful as a biological filter. They won a prize for this work as part of the celebration of the International Year of Chemistry. The prize was given to them in person by the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Sir Harold Kroto. Secondly, another group of students from Patagonia used the water kit to analyze the waters of the mighty Baker River on 14 different stations. Our expedition was filmed and broadcasted on national TV as part of a series of innovative ways to involved students in hands-on science and technology activities.


WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

LPA: The program has increased immensely since the time I first participated and there is still a lot of room to grow at least here in South America. We, in AquaSendas, are taking a leading role to increase WWMC coverage in the country. Two ideas come to my mind that can help not only to grow the program even larger among new schools but also give a sense of identity and connection to those who have been long supporters of the program. Firstly, the idea of having a country coordinator where that is feasible, and secondly, organize an annual Water Meeting where we gather to share knowledge, experience and practices to project the WWMC program to the future.


WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

LPA: Basically that, Get Involved!!!, it is a win-win decision, water is integral part of the planet, without it no life could exist as we know it, so as citizens we need to know more about this precious molecule to become aware of our own responsibility and be stewards of this element. WWMC provides a beautifully simple path to walk beyond the initial idea of excitement and awareness. The water kit is the tool we could all use to start listening to what water in the planet is telling us. Then, it depends on our own creativity how we can get the best of the water kit.


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Steve Kalish, United States

Superstar_KalishWWMC: What drew you to the WWMC program—why did you want to get involved?

SK: I first learned of the World Water Monitoring Challenge (WWMC) program from Björn von Euler, our Director of Corporate Philanthropy and a WEF Board Member. Björn’s passion for global water issues and water education are well known. As he described the WWMC program, I became intrigued with the idea of bringing water education to my local schools by providing students the opportunity to participate in a science activity that brings education to life. Xylem Watermark is an ongoing sponsor and strong supporter of WWMC. Many other Xylem employees sponsor similar events around the world for various groups of kids (schools, scouts, etc). We even ran a WWMC event for “Bring your Kids to Work Day” at Xylem Corporate headquarters on May 4th.


WWMC: Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events more meaningful?

SK: I ran my first WWMC event for 3rd and 4th graders at a local elementary school in my hometown in 2009. Since then, the program has been expanded to include 5th graders in a second elementary school (about 100 kids in each school participate each year). In discussions with the school principals, staff, and teachers, we quickly realized that the WWMC testing could be combined with other related activities and integrated with the elementary school science curriculum to provide a really first-rate learning experience for the kids. The Superintendent and Supervisor of Science Curriculum for the school district both fully endorse and support the program. There are 4 elements of our annual WWMC program (normally conducted in the fall):

  1. Water Presentation – during a 45 minute assembly, I engage the students in an interactive discussion about water quality and treatment, water conservation, wastewater, and water testing. This event also serves as an opportunity to introduce the WWMC test kit, discuss the 4 specific water tests that they will be performing (turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH), and generate some excitement about the upcoming water testing event.
  2. Water Testing – we walk the kids from the school to a local lake where they test the water quality using the WWMC test kits and record the results on a clipboard. When they return to their classrooms, they upload their test results to the WWMC web site.
  3. Classroom Exercise – a couple weeks after the water testing event, the education team from United Water New Jersey (our local water company) visits the school and runs an age-appropriate water activity for each class.
  4. WTP Visit – each school then takes a class trip to tour the local Water Treatment Plant in Haworth, NJ (a UWNJ facility).


WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

SK: This is certainly a tremendous experience for the kids. They learn the importance of water in our daily lives, they gain an appreciation for various water issues, and get to participate in a global science activity. I kind of expected these results. What I didn’t anticipate was the broader impact that this program has on the school and community. It energizes the water curriculum in the schools; it brings a lot of positive energy to the student body; it encourages parent-student interaction (parents chaperone the water testing trip); and it grabs the attention of the entire local community. I frequently get stopped in and around town by a student or parent who experienced this event and just wanted to express their appreciation.


WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

SK: I hope this program gains momentum and is adopted by many more schools. It would be great if the educational institutions that propose curriculum changes consider recommending WWMC as an optional way to enhance the elementary school science curriculum.


WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

SK: Just try it. It takes a little planning and coordination, but it’s well worth the effort. You don’t need to be an expert in water or even a teacher; you just need the passion and desire to bring a unique experience into the community. There are plenty of resources to help get you going. First, check out the WWMC web site where there is a lot of good information and resources. If you have questions, contact the folks at WEF. And don’t hesitate to reach out to other event organizers; we’d be happy to share our experiences and lessons learned. 


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 Frederick Njobati, Cameroon

 

WWMC: What drew you to the program—why did you want to get involved?

FN: I got involved in this program because of two reasons. a) In Cameroon especially in the N.W region many water bodies are drying up, human activities are worsening pollution and springs/streams are not well cared for or protected thus threatening the freshwater ecosystems b) the passion I have in creating awareness on environmental issues amongst pupils, students and teachers.

WWMC:
 Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events special?

FN: Yes. We organize children’s activities on water borne diseases, their prevention and protection, tree planting by environmental club members in schools, integrating environmental issues in the teaching of various subjects, etc.

WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

FN: Children are very excited and enjoy this activity. It is fascinating that children of even lower classes are able to use the water testing kits, interprete and explain the implication of pH, dissolved oxygen etc to a wider audience. The children have a lot of fun in the outdoor activity and feel respected that their contributions are shared internationally.

WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

FN: I will like to get more schools and groups from various education providers involved as well as share experiences of how to develop/use learner-oriented teaching resources related to the WWMC. Every other African country should get involved in order to build awareness on water quality and help local communities to preserve and protect the health of our precious ecosystem.


WWMC
: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

FN: It is a very practical way of learning by doing. It facilitates the link between what is taught in school to real life application. Above all it is very lively, strengthens effective communication amongst learners, teachers and the community and leads to a positive change of attitudes. 


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Nelson Coronel Quispe, Administrative Director of EMAPAS Municipal Water Operator - Sacaba

 

WWMC: What drew you to the program—why did you want to get involved?

NQ: The possibility of raising awareness among children drew the company to the program. I wanted to be involved in order to get to know the project and be a part of structural changes and habits, as well as to contribute to the achievement of the project’s goals, which are great. Also, to generate in students an investigation approach to generate more interest in water topics.

WWMC:
 Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events special?

NQ: Yes, and in a fundamental way – with the activities of the Water for Life and Hand Wash national educational campaigns, which teach children how to take care of water resources, sewerage systems, the environment, and their health. We plan internal activities with the school and work to raise awareness among authorities, institutions, the media, etc.

WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

NQ: Yes, the monitoring activities influence them! They feel motivated and try to perform better in the measures each time they do them again. They also feel more responsible as they engage in the activities and they also feel privileged to be given the confidence and trust to carry out these activities.

WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

NQ: In a more regular and constant way, this activity should be inserted in the annual plan of the schools with the participation of the parents, authorities, etc. The Ministry of Water and Environment should be more involved and regulate these activities in order to sanction or reward communities that keep their water bodies clean.

WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

NQ: They should begin with the monitoring activities so that they get involved in knowing what kind of water they consume. They should participate and contribute to these activities that reinforce the work between the teachers, the schools and the water operators.

 

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Mika Vanhanen, Environment Online (ENO) Coordinator, Finland

 

WWMC: What drew you to the program—why did you want to get involved?

MV: We were drawn to the program because water is a frequent topic addressed by the ENO program.  We really liked the fact that WWMC is an extremely hands-on learning experience with a problem-based approach.  We not only thought that WWMC was an interesting program but that it could easily be easily organized with elementary schools.

WWMC: Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events special?

MV: We begin every school year discussing trees and water with our students.  In September, we start the school year off planting trees followed by engaging in our water monitoring activities. 

WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

MV: We were actually very surprised by the positive response we’ve received about the program.  I’ve had the opportunity to see Finnish students really enjoying this activity.  I have also visited Malaysia and met with many ENO schools and clubs that monitor their water regularly.  Water is important!

WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

MV: In 3-5 years, I would like to see WWMC partner with other groups to develop some new activities or materials.

WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

MV: My advice to others who are considering becoming involved in WWMC is that it’s both an easy and practical way to learn more about our precious resource—water.  Children around the world are motivated to participate in outdoor activities, and this activity is excellent.

 

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Ruty Hotzen, Country Coordinator at iEARN Israel

 

RutyWWMC: What drew you to the program—why did you want to get involved?

RH: I was particularly drawn to this program because water, especially the lack of drinking water is a major problem in Israel and our region.

WWMC: Do you combine other activities with the basic water monitoring to make your WWMC events special?

RH: We combine the basic water monitoring with all of our other collaborative projects.  WWMC is a special event because we ensure that every student gets the opportunity to participate in the water monitoring, so everyone contributes to the program.  Once we have collected all of the data, we publish it in the school newspaper.

WWMC: How have you seen WWMC influence the students that participate in it?

RH: We have noticed that our students participating in WWMC feel important to be a part of such a global project.  We have also observed that this program makes our courses more professional.  Finally, WWMC has been a practical way for our students to learn English.

WWMC: In what ways would you like to see the WWMC develop in the next 3-5 years?

RH: In the next 3-5 years, I would like to be able to connect more with other groups who are working on similar, collaborative projects.
WWMC: What advice would you pass on to others who would like to get involved in WWMC?

RH: I would tell people who are interested in becoming involved in WWMC that it’s a simple, meaningful project that is happening all over the world.

 

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