Check out these Inspiring Water-Wise Students!

We are so impressed! Congratulations to all the schools that participated in the Streets to the Sea Challenge!  The Challenge recognizes students who organize service-learning projects around stormwater pollution prevention and water-wise solutions.

This year, 11 schools from around Los Angeles County were selected for the final round of judging held at Disney Synergy Lab, one of their Burbank animation studios. The competition offered one middle school and one high school a chance to win a trip to the Floating Lab, a boat adventure filled with marine science fun.  

Robert E. Peary Middle School won a Grand Prize for their work they did to redirect water to the right place.  The students performed a water audit where they mapped the inflows and outflows noticing how it moved across their campus.  

Grand Prize-winning students from Robert E. Peary Middle School
Grand Prize-winning students from Robert E. Peary Middle School

The students discovered that most of the sprinklers in the school garden were broken.  The garden was suffering and runoff was moving across the schoolyard asphalt picking up pollutants and being washed out to sea down the storm drain.  The students had the idea to turn off the broken sprinklers and replace the system with an oscillating sprinkler that evenly covered the garden space instead.  The garden is now thriving and no polluted water is being swept away– instead, water now has been directed into garden beds.

Through their research, the winning students from El Camino Real Charter High School discovered their campus used more than 10 million gallons of water last year alone.  They also learned that native habitats had been removed from their local area.  

The El Camino Environmental Club took action to address both issues by replacing high water need plants with a climate appropriate native plant garden on campus. The students also applied mulch around the campus’ garden spaces to decrease erosion help the soils’ ability to hold water.  The work of the Environmental Club served many purposes– they lowered the school’s water consumption, improved water quality and created more habitat and food sources for local biodiversity!

The encouraging and innovative work the students achieved, the smiles on their faces and the passion with which they presented on their projects all made the final round and Recognition Ceremony a memorable event. Each of the schools that made it to the final round at the Synergy Lab received a recycled glass trophy to memorialize the important work the students accomplished.  


We can feel much better about the future knowing there are water-wise students like these coming up with creative solutions to stormwater pollution.  

Join us next year for fun and inspiration by participating in the Streets to the Sea Challenge!

Looking for more information? Visit our website to learn what your school can do to grow a greener LA!

By Amanda Begley

Amanda is TreePeople’s Watershed Education Specialist. She attended her first TreePeople event when she was 12 years old and has been a “tree person” ever since. When Amanda is not educating on local water issues, she is exploring the many amazing hiking areas around Los Angeles County.