Cal Water news release

H2O Challenge Runners-Up Announced

Cal Water has announced that classes from Sierra View Elementary (Chico), Little Chico Creek Elementary (Chico), Oak Knoll Elementary (Menlo Park), and Parkview Elementary (Chico) took the runner-up spots in the eighth annual Cal Water H2O Challenge classroom competition.

The Cal Water H2O Challenge (challenge.calwater.com) is a collaboration between California Water Service (Cal Water), the California Association of Science Educators (CASE), the WestEd K-12 Alliance, and DoGoodery. The free, project-based competition invites fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade classrooms in Cal Water service areas to develop and implement solutions to local water issues.

Emily Akimoto’s fifth-graders at Sierra View Elementary in Chico, Calif., took home the second-place prize, including a $2,500 classroom grant, class pizza party, and student prize packs, for their project “Infiltration Investigation.” Students researched local groundwater systems, designed infiltration ponds and pervious concrete, and performed experiments on their effectiveness with water infiltration and durability. The class has already convinced one local construction company to use pervious concrete in its next development, and the students hope to continue to effect change through local regulations and practices.

The third-place prize, which includes a $2,000 classroom grant and student prize packs, went to Kristen Thomas’ fifth-graders at Little Chico Creek Elementary in Chico for their project, “Little Chico Creek Trees.” The students tested water quality and planted sycamore trees around Little Chico Creek. They also nominated a more than 250-year-old oak tree from campus for the City of Chico’s Heritage Tree list and are educating other students and the public about the importance of trees in the water cycle. The fifth-graders wanted to leave a lasting impact on their school and community by protecting and planting more trees.

Fifth-graders in Kim Nero’s class at Oak Knoll Elementary in Menlo Park, Calif., won the fourth-place prize, which includes a $1,000 classroom grant and student prize packs, for their project, “Watershed Warriors!” The class learned about their local watersheds and donated supplies to a local nonprofit organization for creek restoration work. The students also participated in a creek habitat restoration project by removing invasive species and planting new trees and shrubs, and educated the community about the need to keep their local water supplies clean.

The fifth-place prize, which provides a $500 classroom grant and student prize packs, was awarded to Tammy Janos’ fifth-grade class at Parkview Elementary in Chico. Their project, “Save Top the Drop”, included a water conservation art contest at the school and a web site to showcase their work. The students presented to every classroom at the school, and also made videos to teach parents how to both conserve water and get water conservation kits from Cal Water. The students raised awareness about water conservation throughout their entire school and hope to generate water-wise adults.

The grand-prize winner, announced Tuesday morning, was a class of fourth-graders from Bonita Street Elementary STEAM Academy in Carson, Calif. Students from Tiffany Rachal’s class won for their project, “Mission: Make Our Oceans Blue Again,” which focused on addressing pollution in the nearby Dominguez Channel.

During the pandemic, Cal Water evolved its model to help bring students a project-based learning opportunity, regardless of whether the class is in a remote, in-person, or hybrid learning style. The Challenge continues to evolve in order to make the competition more equitable and accessible amid changing coronavirus restrictions. Despite the unprecedented challenges the pandemic has presented, by integrating water conservation, educational programs, and school curriculum, DoGoodery and Cal Water’s partnership provided a space to connect with students and bring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and NGSS (Next-Generation Science Standards) into classrooms with diverse learning styles.

About CASE

The California Association of Science Educators (CASE) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member-based community that works to lead the promotion of high-quality, equitable science education through advocacy, collaboration, and communication. Recognizing that science has a profound influence on our lives, our local environments, and our world. CASE fosters a community focused on enhancing scientific and environmental literacy and agency for all. For more information, visit www.cascience.org.

About DoGoodery

DoGoodery is a full-service agency that provides customized strategies and services to help you reach your impact goals. Our expertise spans a wide range of critical social areas with a foundation in business, and we collaborate with your team to custom-design innovative strategies and seamlessly manage and execute the work. For more information, visit www.dogoodery.com.