Diegueño middle schoolers help improve water quality

Professionals from Downstream recently demonstrated to Diegueño students how they can clear a clogged drain without sending the debris downstream to local lagoons and the ocean.

Middle school students in the San Dieguito Union High School District are partnering with water professionals to make practical improvements to their school campus. Seventh and eighth graders participating in the SWPPP Internship Program at Diegueño Middle School in Encinitas study the impact of pollutants flowing from their campus in stormwater and irrigation runoff.

The interns at Diegueno identified a blocked storm drain on their campus on the path to their field and invited Downstream Services, Inc. to the school site. Using their impressive Vac Truck, the professionals from Downstream demonstrated how they can clear a clogged drain without sending the debris downstream to local lagoons and the ocean.

“It was interesting to meet with people that have jobs like what we do in SWPPP Internship and to think about our future,” reported Opal Sheth, eight grade student and SWPPP intern at Diegueño.

Involving local professionals is a hallmark of the internships offered by BCK Programs, an Encinitas-based environmental education company. This event provided a pivotal opportunity for these young interns to make the connection between the contributions they are making on their campus and the work of the professionals in their city.

“Seeing these students actually doing something shows that the younger generations are listening and learning. We look forward to continuing to work with these students and showing them all aspects of this industry,” said Mary Sullivan, Stormwater project manager at Downstream Services, Inc.

At the request of the interns, Downstream will be returning to Diegueño soon to install a custom-made catch basin insert near the front walk of the school to continue to improve water quality flowing off the middle school campus.

“I think it is great that students are getting involved with real-life experiences and to learn the reality of how important it is to keep our storm drains clean which in turn helps our oceans tremendously. This also teaches our students to respect and appreciate their campus along with the environment,” said Javier Lopez, grounds and custodial supervisor at SDUHSD.

The SWPPP Internship Program, a hands-on, STEM-based program offered by BCK Programs, has over 500 students actively involved in improving water quality in California, Nevada and Hawaii. BCK Programs is dedicated to creating and delivering environmental education programs that educate and empower students to make meaningful changes at their school and in their community.

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