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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMB Water Watch Participates In “Toxics Tour”

Over the winter break, Massachusetts Community Water Watch at UMass Boston joined forces with students and organizers working at 13 other Massachusetts universities on the Water Watch “Toxics Tour”. The groups’ project was to educate 4,000 K-12 students across the state about toxic problems in their local waterways. Through a variety of lessons, games, and activities, Water Watch volunteers engaged younger students in exploring the sources of water quality problems and solutions for the future. The five-day tour visited five regions of Massachusetts, going from Fall River/New Bedford to Springfield, covering the Boston area, Lowell, Worcester, Amherst and Holyoke, in between.

“This was the fourth time Water Watch has held an education week,” said Allison Cairo, Water Watch organizer at UMB, “several of the kids at the Montclair School in Quincy remembered our lessons from last year. That was great because it showed that our lessons are really making an impression on these kids, and Water Watch’s environmental education program is having an impact in the Quincy community.”

Along with working with students in classrooms, Water Watch established the connection with senators, state representatives, and local community leaders. Over 70 prominent individuals endorsed the week, many of them working with Water Watch volunteers in classrooms. Endorsers included Senators’ Kerry and Kennedy, U.S. Representatives’ Frank, Neal and Tierney. Secretary of Environmental Affairs, Bob Durand, also endorsed the week and spoke at the Kick-Off event at South Boston Harbor Academy. “Student volunteer efforts, such as the Massachusetts Community Water Watch Program, are a critical component of environmental education, which is our effort to create a sense of stewardship for our environment in tomorrow’s leaders” said Durand.

While UMB’s Water Watch members often focus on Dorchester’s Neponset River and local water issues, they appreciated the opportunity to work with students from other communities in the state. “I met some amazing people who are interested in the same issues that concern me, but often for different reasons” said Water Watch Education Intern Emily Saxton. “The variety of our towns’ rivers and streams gives us varied appreciation of water quality issues.”

Water Watch will continue its education efforts in the Boston area this spring. Students who are interested in participating, should contact Emily Saxton at the MASSPIRG/Water Watch office, 4th floor Wheatley or email [email protected]. “Participating in Education Week gave me a better appreciation for why working with younger people is so important,” said Saxton. “I’m really looking forward to doing that in my internship and working with other interested students.”