Youth arrived early on a Saturday morning at Thomas Stone High School in Charles County, to learn about how their local waters contribute to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. The program called "Water: Our Most Valuable Resource," was part of the Building Bridges Community Project organized by Pastor Melynda Clarke of Mt. Sinai A.M.E. Church. IPC offered a workshop which showed how our behaviors can either be a part of the pollution solution or part of the problem. The youth and adults who attended learned about how interconnected trees, water, wildlife, and our behavior are within the watershed. They also learned how everything they do upstream can impact their neighbors downstream.
Through the workshop IPC and Mt. Sinai A.M.E. offered the students actions they can take to be part of the water pollution solution: tree planting, re-usable water bottles, and storm-drain stenciling. Pastor Clarke reported that the "participants shared their excitement of learning about ecological programs that will benefit the community." Everyone at the workshop received a reusable water bottle and following the workshop the youth went outdoors to learn how to create and apply a storm-drain stencil at a neighborhood storm drain. Too often people use storm drains to deposit trash or chemical fluids, not realizing that the water does not go to a water treatment facility. Their storm drain stencil informed the community "No Dumping - Drains to Waterway." The storm drain stenciling project was the first of two projects to engage the youth. The second one will be to participate in the installation of a rain garden. Each youth received a certificate of accomplishment for acting for the health of their community and local waters. By doing so, they became Water Champions!
This project was funded through a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. If you are you interested in applying for a Mini-Grant to support your congregation's efforts (up to $5000) please contact Bonnie Sorak: firstname.lastname@example.org.