This July, our utility held an online program for high school-aged students to learn how to help protect clean water in our region. The Clean Water Ambassadors Certificate Program, done in partnership with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, ran for four weeks and was open to all high school-aged youth in the King County region.
During the month of July, students met Tuesday-Friday for two hours on Zoom each day. They learned about water systems, watershed ecology and salmon, sustainability, and local environmental issues. They practiced ways to take action in their community. They also explored careers by meeting with local environmental professionals who explained their jobs. Students who participated received a certificate that recognized the number of hours they committed to the 34-hour program.
Our utility usually hires a cohort of high school interns each year to learn about local environmental issues, solutions and careers. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the program was unable to hire new interns and do in-person programs. So, the education team pivoted and instead, high school interns from 2019 stayed on to help lead this online program.
Watch all or part of a highlight video here: https://youtu.be/Ot5z_8zW7zU
Students also had a lot to say about their experience:
“Every day was filled with insight and passion, and each lesson was focused and clear. The most memorable topic for me was water systems; I was able to track where my water came from, treatments used, the people it supplies, the cost, and where it flows from the drains of my house.” – Julia
“This program has helped me understand that everyone needs to contribute in helping the earth become less polluted. It motivates me to do better and speak out that what they are doing may harm our water systems. This program educated me, especially the [plastic] microfibers that I had absolutely didn’t know it existed, to find ways to not throw away clothes that look 90% untouched or only worn once.” – Kyle
“This program definitely changed my perspective of the importance and complexity of the current water system. The best part of this experience was learning from the program leads. On top of the overall benefit of gaining so much amazing information about water, climate change, water life, and sustainability, I also increased my public speaking skills during this workshop. I feel more connected to the environment now that I have participated in this program.” – Yubi
“This program helped emphasize how environmentalism is so integrated with social justice issues, especially in recognizing the impacts of settlers on indigenous land.” – Katrina
“I have so much more knowledge and understanding on how important our environment really is. What changed most about my perspective is that the world needs a lot of help and as a student I can also help – not just adults can change what’s going on. The best part of this experience is seeing so many teens wanting to make a change like me, and working together to develop our own plans on how to make that change for our future, and the futures to come. I’ve developed more confidence, understanding, knowledge, and so much more from this program and I wish I was able to meet all of you wonderful people in person.” – Chloe
To learn more about our education programs for students of all levels and adults, please visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/services/environment/wastewater/education.aspx