Pupils do their part for the bay


Sixth-graders from Perryville Middle School in Cecil County have been battling it out for the designation of "Most Water Saved."

From March 10 to March 14, nine sixth-grade classrooms participated in the water conservation contest, said Susan Obleski, director of communications for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. The contest was designed to target home water use and required pupils to record their daily use.

"Students will learn that because they do it themselves that they can make a difference," Obleski said. The goal was for them to find ways to reduce their water use, she said. The class that recorded the most water saved by its pupils won the contest.

Sixth-grade language arts teachers Susan Zimmer, Nicole Davis and Whitney Paxon coordinated the project with the commission.

In Cecil County, pupils in grades six through nine are required to do a community service project. The sixth-grade project focused on "The Environment and You," and because Perryville is so close to the Chesapeake Bay, the question was, "How can students stop the pollution on the bay?"

This year, students conserved water by reducing the amount of water going to wastewater treatment plants.

"If too much water is used, the water that goes into the Chesapeake is dirty water," Paxon said. "By conserving, there is less water going into the treatment centers and more time for the water to be cleaned.

"The most important goal is to show students that they can make a difference, and everyone can do their part," Paxon said.

The pupils in Paxon's third class used the least amount of water per pupil -- 253 gallons -- compared with other classes, at 350 gallons.

Pupils from the winning class shared tips for conserving water, such as turning off the water while brushing teeth and washing hands. One of the more creative methods of conserving water was using only one glass per day for drinking.

"I think the kids gained a lot of new ways to do their part to stop pollution in the Chesapeake Bay," Paxon said.

The water conservation project idea came from Del. David D. Rudolph, a Cecil County Democrat, who wanted to help pupils get a better idea of the importance of water as a resource.

"What I hope is that this project will help students understand that each and every child can conserve water," he said.

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