Prince George's County, Maryland - Clean Water Partnership Youth Engagement Program

The Clean Water Partnership (CWP) was established in 2014 between Prince George’s County, Maryland, and a private company, Corvias, to retrofit 2,000 acres to facilitate better, more resilient stormwater management. A significant component of the CWP - which has been extended 30 more years and to 4,000 more acres - is educating the community on resilient infrastructure and environmental literacy. Much of this engagement and education centers around the youth of Prince George’s County. Several programs, including the Junior Achievement Finance Park and End Time Harvest Ministries, have established training, internship, and educational programs for students throughout the school district. These programs help to ensure that young people throughout the community become engaged in learning about and participating in the development of resilient, green infrastructure. Since its foundation, CWP has invested over $500,000 in youth and educational programs, with the overall goal of improving environmental literacy and instilling the importance of resiliency. Through these programs, 8th-grade students within the County are introduced to green stormwater management techniques, and 70 students have gained first-hand experience relating to environmental literacy.

Junior Achievement Finance Park

Junior Achievement of Greater Washington partnered with Corvias in 2016 to advance CWP stormwater retrofits. When the CWP contracted to implement stormwater management infrastructure in the G. James Gholson Middle School campus, the partnership additionally agreed to educate students of the school regarding environmental issues, financial literacy, and more. Every 8th-grade student in Prince George’s County goes through a 14-week program taught by their teacher focusing on personal finance, after which they participate in a one-day, hands-on experience led by a volunteer from CWP working on budgeting exercises. Throughout the program, students are also exposed to problem solving and projects involving stormwater management and runoff.

Since the partnership with Junior Achievement was founded, students have helped complete several projects that help to advance stormwater management, alongside their financial literacy classes. These include planting a large swath of native plants that help to process stormwater runoff, as well as provide homes and food for wildlife nearby; planting another garden of pollinators that feed butterflies and hummingbirds; constructing a walkway through the Park that consists of permeable stones, which decreases spending due to cost-saving stormwater collection and re-use; and general promotion of environmental awareness.

End Time Harvest Ministries

CWP has also partnered with End Time Harvest Ministries (ETHM) to support the Ministries’ Environmental Health Summer Employment Program. ETHM works with local youth in the area to equip them with educational, social, economic, and moral life skills. To do so, one program they offer students in the area is a six-week, paid internship over the summer that partners participants with twenty-seven different local businesses throughout the County to learn first-hand how local business works. Additionally, they learn how stormwater management is connected to health in the community, and also gain first-hand experience with tangible skill sets that will go towards their ultimate career. Throughout the program, the students are exposed to a variety of different disciplines through their time working with local businesses, such as engineering, cooking, medical, agricultural science, electrical, and more.

As of 2018, 70 students from high schools in the County were participants/recipients of the paid internship, and most generally studied in the post-graduate sector each desired to pursue. As a whole, the program allows the interns “to improve their environmental literacy, enhance critical thinking skills, explain the connection between what they learned on their jobs and how that learning impacts the health and safety of PGC residents, and explain the importance of managing stormwater runoff.”

Prince George’s County Public School System

During CWP’s initial 2,000-acre program, 22 public schools were targeted as areas that received resilient infrastructure construction to facilitate stormwater management throughout the Public School System. While constructing this infrastructure, CWP worked with the schools to provide an educational aspect that would help schools reach their environmental literacy goals. For example, in instances where rain gardens were stalled, these spaces became outdoor classrooms for students receiving education regarding the benefits of managing stormwater runoff. Other areas needed vegetation installation, and students and faculty alike participated in volunteer tree-planting sessions, allowing students to have first-hand experience as to how the environment is preserved in their neighborhood.

This collaborative relationship between the Public School System and CWP, which has continued as the goal has expanded to retrofit 4,000 acres, has helped to guarantee that students attending public schools in the County are exposed to the resources and education that is necessary to implement a resilient stormwater management system.

 

Publication Date: January 2014

Related Organizations:

  • Corvias Solutions
  • Prince George's County, Maryland

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  • Engagement

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