MWRA 2009-2010 Writing Contest Winners

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Cole J. Hediger
Grade 7, Marlborough 4-7 School, Marlborough


Youth Educator

Is the water that comes out of your faucet brown? When you flush the toilet where do the contents go? When you drink out of the water fountain at school does the water taste metallic or sweet? Where does the rain water go? The MWRA, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, is active in 61 Massachusetts communities. In one day 215 million gallons of water are supplied and 350 million gallons of sewage are treated. My job as a youth educator helps the environment and the community by teaching the youth of Massachusetts the value of our water resources, how to conserve our dwindling water resources and new innovative ways to protect our current and future water supply.

Education of youth is the most far-reaching job of the MWRA. If you teach three people and they adopt water conservation practices and then they teach three other people, you have a pyramid effect around informing individuals of the importance of conserving our water resources. Many adults today grew up believing our water supply was infinite and therefore practice water-wasting habits. With our educational efforts, children today are growing up with a healthy respect for our natural resources. By utilizing programs at each grade school, such as educational posters and children's literature, the young people of this generation have and will continue to become very savvy about water conservation. Many children tell me they encourage their parents to be thrifty with water usage. When the lesson is perceived to have valve to an individual, they use it in their everyday life and will teach it to others. Educating our youngest generation is imperative in our mission to protect and converse our water resources and has been very successful to date.

The environmental impact of educating the youth is both local and global. Locally, with the conservation of our water resources, the city has enough water for all its citizens' needs. As youth learn the value of protecting our water supply, residents are able to enjoy safe drinking water as well as safe water for personal needs. Globally protecting our water supply from pollution and hazardous waste affects everyone. If we pollute the oceans, rivers, lakes and streams, this water can eventually mix with our diminishing water supply. Understanding the impact of the run-off effect from agriculture, industry and overpopulated areas is a strong motive to prevent the over-usage of chemicals and improper handling and disposal of wastes and toxins. Teaching stewardship and water management to our youngest generation results in a lifetime of good habits centered around conserving and protecting our valuable water resources.
Everyone has a role in making sure the water coming out of our drinking fountain is clear, refreshing and safe. Our global environment and our local futures depend on you!

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