In 2019, the EarthEcho Water Challenge united over 55,575 young people and community members from 37 countries, engaging participants in monitoring local water quality, sharing their results with a global audience, and taking action to protect their water resources. From Mexico’s cenotes and rivers in the Ecuadorian Amazon to urban waterways of New York City and lakes in India, Water Challenge participants around the globe played a critical role in increasing awareness of the importance of watershed health, while collecting data to help inform community actions to protect these ecosystems.
This year, thanks to support of program participants, partners, and sponsors, we reached a new participation milestone, with over 1.6 million participants contributing to this program since it’s launch in 2003.
As we continue to support Water Challenge participants and their efforts to translate their data into tangible action in their community, we launched the EarthEcho Water Challenge Action portal to provide ideas and inspiration for watershed conservation projects, and collaborated with our education partners to create custom data tracking tools to empower students to visualize and analyze their findings. This year, over 24,464 EarthEcho Water Challenge participants took action beyond monitoring to protect their local watersheds. These efforts included river and ocean cleanups, plastic pollution prevention campaigns, the creation of living shorelines to improve water quality and resiliency in the face of climate change, invasive species removal from stream banks, tree plantings and river restoration projects to help prevent erosion, in depth water education programs helping students dive deeper into their citizen science data, and efforts to share data with local government officials.
We are grateful to the global network of young citizen scientists and water stewards who took part in the EarthEcho Water Challenge, and our program partners and sponsors who helped make this work possible.
We look forward to the continued growth and expanded impact of this movement in the year ahead as we protect our planet’s most precious resource!