Water Guardians recognized in Sacramento | La Habra Journal

Posted on 11 March 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Naomi Osuna
La Habra Journal

The six-member team of enterprising young ladies from Washington Middle School, known as the Water Guardians, had a whirlwind yet rewarding couple days last week. sonora-girls-basketball-cif-finals-2 Eighth graders:  Angeline Dequit, June Kim, Alma Spicher, Vanessa Canchola, Fiona Paredes and Jessica Gallegos are dedicated to water conservation and doing what they can to help share the message of water conservation. The team is planning to improve the community’s environment and conserve water. The Water Guardians’ goal is to increase the awareness in the community, and to reduce the amount of water wasted. Last week, the teens boarded an early morning flight and headed to Sacramento.  There, they met with legislators about the importance of water conservation.  Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang introduced them on the Assembly floor, while Senator Minority Leader Bob Huff introduced them to the Senate floor. The key message was their project on how to create new ways to conserve water. “We are saving the Earth one drop of water at a time,” Paredes said.

When they started last year, the Water Guardian’s action plan was to reduce their school’s water usage by 30 percent. In order to do this, the girls analyzed Washington Middle School’s water usage to figure out the areas of waste. One of the areas they noticed was their school field was watered three days a week and the lunch areas were washed down daily. sonora-girls-basketball-cif-finals-3

They then brainstormed to find the best solutions for all of this. To get the approval for reducing the water they had many meetings with the principal. They got help from the faculty and school board and they designed the sod area transformation and planned for plumbing fixture replacements. In Sacramento the Water Guardians and their teacher, Susan Pritchard, met with Senator Huff and were recognized as the only middle school in California to win the Land and Water category in the Lexus Eco Challenge. The Water Guardians were competing with schools from across the country. The Lexus Eco Challenge encourages students to compete to find ways to make significant changes in their communities and to win $30,000 in prize money. The challenge is a project learning based competition for students from grades 6-12. It is based on students having to identify an environmental issue and coming up with an action plan to address it.

After the one-day trip to Sacramento, Prichard and the Water Guardians were back at school the next day. That’s when representatives from the La Habra Police Officer’s Association presented the girls with a check in the amount of  $250 to help continue their research. There was also an anonymous $250 matching check that was donated to them, which, in additioin to their previous fundraising efforts, brought them over halfway way to reaching their goal of $18,000 to sustain this project. sonora-girls-basketball-cif-finals-5

In addition to the Police Officer’s Association’s donation, the city has pitched its support. After the Water Guardian’s presented to the LH City Council last month, the City of La Habra has agreed to pay for the toilets in the school through the pilot program Pritchard explained. These students had researched that a large amount of water is wasted from flushing the toilets throughout the day.  With having new toilets, they will be saving an abundance of water. These 8th-graders will continue their research and have an even bigger impact on the city than they already do. The experiment these students performed was just for a competition, but it is so much bigger than that. These students will have a huge impact on the community. They will also work with other schools in the La Habra City School District, starting with Ladera Palma, to work on ways to save water. These students started something greater than they expected. If you would like to find out more information about the Water Guardians’ plan you can email them at:

[email protected] or you can follow their Facebook Page for water-saving tips.

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