Community

REfill REuse Goes to School:  HOSR Takes Water Initiative to Local Elementary School

The Edward Gideon School, a Philadelphia K-8 school located in the Brewerytown section of the city hosted volunteers from the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta (HOSR) and its partners, on Friday, June 2, to teach students about using refillable water bottles rather than plastic disposables, thereby reducing litter and solid waste volume.  It all began when first grade teacher Rachael Jordan learned about the successful REfill REuse program at the HOSR; it was a perfect time to reinforce the use of their newly installed school water stations and importance of caring for the environment.

What began as a water bottle-request for Jordan’s class expanded into a vibrant educational program for the entire 300+ student body. Partners included the HOSR, the Philadelphia School District, Mayor’s Office for Healthy Schools, Fairmount Waterworks, and Philadelphia City Rowing.  Groups of children rotated among volunteers/organizations throughout the afternoon. Volunteers worked with 80-100 children per session, each lasting approximately 10 minutes. HOSR provided water bottles with a place for each child to write their names, a photo station, information about the Refill/Reuse project and about the regatta and the river.

Each partner brought a message that supported the overall goals of the water initiative and healthy communities:

• Reuse and refill water bottles = less waste and litter in our waterways/community
• Take good care and utilize our parks and rivers 
• Trust in Philadelphia public tap water
• Get involved in something positive – and provide exposure to the sport of rowing.

The partnership hopes to expand this educational piece to additional schools in the 2017-18 school year.  Based on the continued success of the Refill/Reuse program and the HOSR’s outreach to expand the program, Philadelphia Water has recently agreed to again provide 15,000 water bottles and staff in 2017 to support this groundbreaking initiative.  We are changing a culture, one water bottle at a time.

Keep an eye out for expansion of the water program at the 2017 regatta…we are going to need everyone rowing together to accomplish big goals!