600 Fifth graders work and campaign to protect local waterways

“Water is gold! Don’t treat it like mold!” — Bellingham 5th grader
December 12, 2022

See the student art

While the Pacific Northwest has more water in the winter than many places, we still have to balance the needs of fish, forests, farms and people — especially in the dry summer. To ensure our waterways are plentiful and taken care of now and into the future, RE Sources partnered with City of Bellingham staff to teach over 600 fifth grade students in Bellingham Public Schools the importance of clean, abundant water in our area in their program “Bellingham Water School – Water and Me.”

City of Bellingham staff first teach students about Lake Whatcom and its watershed, stormwater pollution and prevention, water treatment and distribution, and wastewater collection and treatment. The City then called upon RE Sources to both teach students about conserving our most precious resource and how to take action to conserve and protect it.

Students discovered that trash and litter is a common pollutant in our waterways. It can be easily carried to nearby waterways and storm drains when it rains. These small pieces of trash, especially plastics, can be harmful to wildlife and human health. With help from a RE Sources education specialist, 490 students picked up trash around their schools grounds. Students were surprised by the amount they were able to collect in a small area in such a short time!

In addition to collecting litter, students also labeled 12 storm drains on their school grounds, reminding the community that the water flowing down those storm drains goes directly into Bellingham Bay. And that’s not all: 160 of the students created posters on the importance of conserving freshwater resources and keeping our waterways clean. Want to see their artwork? Check them out and see what they learned!

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Photo © Buff Black