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Every drop counts Students study water conservation, paint rain barrels

Wallenpaupack High School students Amber Balch, left, Antonio DiSilvestre, Danielle Spewak, Danielle Wontor and Tanner Abbott, pose with a rain barrel painted by the school’s Environmental Activities Club.
Photo by Billy Templeton

By Billy Templeton
March 26, 2014

PIKE AND WAYNE COUNTIES — Linda Lohner teaches biology at the Wallenpaupack Area High School in Pike County, where she and her fellow science teachers are currently developing a new curriculum.Every Wednesday, after the final bell rings, Lohner and a group of students who are passionate about the environment and outdoor activities meet in her classroom to learn about and experience the natural world outside of school.

Although the knowledge students glean from this club may not appear on any state test (though this new curriculum is careful to meet or exceed the demands of the latest standards), members of the Environmental Activities Club under Lohner’s tutelage become well-prepared to participate in the annual Pike/Wayne Envirothon competition, through hikes, camping and fishing trips, bird- and reptile-watching excursions.

When the Pike County Conservation District, along with the Pike/Wayne Conservation Partnership, received a PA Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Education grant to help educate students on water conservation issues and design rain barrels (www.pikeconservation.org/EveryDropCounts.htm), Lohner jumped at the opportunity. In a creative partnership with the Art Club, students in Lohner’s Environmental Activities Club brainstormed ideas and painted barrels. These will be auctioned off as a fundraiser as part of the Every Drop Counts! Project coordinated by the Pike County Conservation District.

Barrels designed by students at Honesdale, Wallenpaupack and Delaware Valley High Schools and Canaan Christian Academy are currently on display at many local businesses. (For a map of businesses and a list of where rain barrels are located throughout Pike and Wayne counties, see tinyurl.com/p822btf.) The colorful works of art range from underwater ocean scenes to a field of blooming flowers. High school senior Danielle Spewak, a member of both the art and environmental clubs, believes art and nature share a tight bond. “When you think about the environment, you associate it with beauty in its purest form.” This connection forms the foundation for the work done on the barrels and, they hope, will encourage folks from the community not just to bid on their designs, but also to utilize the barrel at their home or business. Kristina DiGiampaolo is excited to create something useful for farmers, but also “something beautiful that they can stare at that represents what they are trying to protect.”