Edina High School (Edina, MN) received a $500 Climate Generation Award from the Will Steger Foundation in honor of outstanding student leadership a the Hydration Station Project. A team of youth judges from across the Midwest selected Edina HS through a competitive process.
Edina High School Project Earth is a student-run environmental group that takes part in working to create a greener community. Our primary responsibility is to collect the school’s recycling on a weekly basis. In addition, Project Earth has developed a Climate Action Project we are in the process of completing, which includes the installation of a water bottle filling station at Edina High School.
The purpose of a water bottle filling station at EHS is to promote the use of reusable water bottles, thereby reducing the amount of plastic bottles that enter the waste stream. The drinking fountains in Edina High School are rarely used because people don’t like how the water tastes. Therefore people often opt for bottled water. Project Earth believes a water bottle filling station will act as an incentive to reuse water bottles in that the station will offer a quick and easy way to refill one’s bottle with a source of cold, filtered, great-tasting water.
Installing a water bottle filling station indirectly reduces greenhouse gases in that oil is used in the production of water bottles and oil refineries contribute to greenhouse gases. Reducing bottled water purchases will therefore reduce greenhouse gases.
Our project has long-term sustainability in that the water bottle filling station will be a permanent fixture at Edina High School. Students and staff will bring reusable water bottles from home and refill their bottles with filtered water that tastes better than the city water from the school’s drinking fountains.
Planning has taken place at our weekly meetings before we recycle. Most of our planning at this point has consisted of setting up fundraisers and making preliminary calls to Brita and Elkay Sales Representatives to enable choosing a water bottle filling station. Our Earth Jam concert fundraiser, in particular, has required a fair amount of planning, i.e. seeking and selecting bands to play, creating posters, working out details with The Depot, etc.
Community partners and fundraising highlights include :
- Conservation Minnesota – Partnered in their Bottle Bill Promotion via their School Tour to raise awareness about the Minnesota Recycling Refund Act. Partner schools received 10 cents per bottle/can. We collected more than 10,000 containers and were therefore given a check for $1000 from Conservation Minnesota! WOW!!
- The Depot Coffee House, Hopkins – Hosting our Earth Jam fundraiser and giving us a discount rental rate for their space. We hosted four bands and made a total of $$567.18 in addition to raising awareness about our project within the school as well as the Edina community. In fact, a community member heard about our project and donated an additional $50 to apply toward the purchase of the Hydration Station!
- Edina Publics Schools Go Green Committee – Several of the committee members have worked with us on various aspects of our project.
- Eureka Recycling – Mentioned above as the collector of our bottles/cans for the Bottle Bill Fundraiser.
- Noodles & Company, Edina – Hosted a benefit night for Project Earth where 25% of the cost of participating customers’ meals benefited our group. We managed to raise $149.53. Not too shabby.
The reality of installing a Brita Hydration Station is getting closer. To date, Project Earth has raised $2020.96 toward purchasing the product, and more funds are on the way! One of Project Earth student leaders has been in touch with Brita and is planning to set up a site visit with a sales representative to discuss installation details and cost. (see picture “hydration station”)
Stay tuned for an update on how the site-visit with the Brita sales representative goes!
Rachael Pream Grenier
Youth Development-Youth Services Manager – Edina High School