On September 13-14, 2021, in celebration of World Water Monitoring Day, EarthEcho International hosted a Water Challenge event at Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs, CO. This event brought over 250 students together, participating in hands-on activities at various "stations," learning about water quality and sustainability.

Activities at station one focused on biodiversity and water chemistry, and included the need-to-know steps to become a community scientist through the EarthEcho Water Challenge. At this station, staff from the Catamount Institute guided students as they tested pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and temperature of the West Monument Creek using EarthEcho water quality test kits. Students discovered that the creek was fairly healthy but lacked a variety of aquatic species and vegetation to reduce runoff of sediments into the body of water. Armed with this new knowledge, students will continue to work with teachers to analyze water quality data and identify ways to protect West Monument Creek.

At station two, students learned how stormwater affects the health of their community. Staff from Colorado Springs Stormwater Education facilitated an interactive presentation to demonstrate the relationship between daily land-use practices and water quality. Various "pollutants" (cocoa, powdered drink mixes, soy sauce, etc.) were applied to the landscape with subsequent "rainfall" (spray bottles) creating contaminated runoff and a polluted watershed. The students very much enjoyed this fun hands-on presentation!

The third and final station was facilitated by staff from the US Air Force Academy, who led students through an engineering design process, having them design shower heads and assess the total amount of water used per second, all while identifying ways to reduce their water footprint.

EarthEcho International would like to thank Air Academy High School, participating students, teachers, and local partners for contributing to the success of the event. This incredible event was made possible through the generous support of Western Digital. Participating partners include Catamount Institute, Colorado Springs Stormwater Education, US Air Force Academy and Xylem Watermark.

We encourage everyone to continue to monitor their local waterways throughout the year, participate in the EarthEcho Water Challenge, and share your data at monitorwater.org.