Who doesn’t remember the thrill of summer camp as a kid? PWSA was happy to partner with Winchester Thurston to help them deliver on that summer camp experience during water-themed camps – called Water Wednesdays – held recently at the Allegheny RiverTrail Park in Aspinwall.
As just one part of this camp, more than 100 young learners experimented with our hands-on EnviroScape model, a 3D depiction of a watershed, complete with miniature houses, streams, a river, and even a water treatment facility.
To illustrate for campers the origins and effects of water pollution, students added color-coded, simulated “sources” of pollution to the model – fertilizer runoff from a lawn, leaking oil from a car, and combined sewer overflow runoff – and observed the calamity by spraying the model with spray bottles, emulating a rainstorm. The colorful “pollution” sprinkled throughout the town and visibly accumulated in the model’s river. We then lamented the fate of the little plastic fish that must live in those waters – and anything or anyone else that relies on that river.
The students were prompted to consider what could be done differently to change this outcome. In a second experiment, fewer fertilizers and pesticides were added, and rain gardens were created along with other interventions. The result, as the students excitedly initiated the next rainstorm, was a much cleaner river and happier fish.
Thank you to Winchester Thurston for this worthwhile partnership!