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Sanitation District No. 1, Beechwood High School partner for local Stormwater Challenge program

SD1 Environmental Scientist Craig Frye leads students through a BMP demonstration at SD1’s Public Service Park. (Photo from SD1)

Beechwood High School recently participated in its third Sanitation District No. 1 Stormwater Challenge, a project-based learning program that teaches students about the importance of stormwater management in their community while designing real world solutions for their school site.

As part of the challenge, SD1 supports upper-middle and high-school students by providing a variety of experimental learning opportunities, including an in-school presentation by an SD1 representative, a school campus site walkabout, a field trip to SD1’s Public Service Park in Fort Wright to see Best Management Practices (BMPs) in action, Q&A sessions and a panel of judges.

These opportunities help students learn about stormwater management, develop solutions to stormwater management problems and gain experience working with local engineers and environmental scientists.

SD1 Environmental Educator Andrea Dee presents to a group of Beechwood High School students about local stormwater management. (Photo from SD1)

The program is a natural fit for Beechwood’s EDGE Engineering Seminar, which aims to teach students skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, long-term planning and creative thinking.

“The tour of SD1’s Public Service Park is a highlight of the challenge for students,” said Sandy Haig, a business, marketing and entrepreneurship teacher at Beechwood High School. “They see stormwater BMPs in action, which answers questions students may have had in the classroom, and it gives them the confidence to create their own BMP project proposals.”

To date, more than 350 Beechwood students have teamed up to develop over 60 project proposals to slow the flow of stormwater runoff at their school site. Approximately 20 proposals were presented this year, many of which aim at addressing puddling on school grounds and increasing the amount of green space on campus.

To address these issues, the students proposed a number of solutions, including:

• Installing a green roof near the puddling site to help absorb stormwater;

• Linking cisterns to planter boxes to capture stormwater runoff and using it to water plants; and

• Removing some of the pavement between buildings to create a garden area where students can study and relax.

Each year, school administration has an opportunity to review presented proposals. From there a decision is made regarding implementing submitted designs.

“Each year, I am inspired by the solutions that the students come up with to the real-world problems facing our community,” said SD1 Environmental Educator Andrea Dee. “The students’ proposals are innovative and have the potential to make a significant impact on stormwater management at their school.”

SD1 invites middle and high schools in its stormwater service area to participate in the Stormwater Challenge. The challenge is a real-world learning opportunity that introduces students to civic engineering and environmental science. By partnering with a public utility, students are introduced to engineers and environmental scientists working every day in their community to solve local environmental issues.

SD1 also offers an elementary environmental science unit that includes free support and supplies, as well as an accompanying field trip experience. These programs help students learn about stormwater management and earn credit on their school’s stormwater bill by participating in the unit.

To learn more about the Stormwater Challenge or SD1’s other educational programming, please visit sd1.org.

Sanitation District No. 1

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