Tuesday, June 19, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on May 16th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 11

Drawing awareness: Santa Maria Utilities Department awards third-grade artists who crafted water wise posters


Although everyone had to shake the dust off of their raincoats for the recent rainfall, the drought still weighs heavy in the minds of those at the Santa Maria Utilities Department. That’s why Myra Ritchie, a water conservation specialist with the department, continued the annual Water Awareness Poster Contest despite the wet season.

Third grade students from the Santa Maria-Bonita School District were invited to create posters that explained the importance of water conservation and symbolized Water Awareness Month, which spans the entire month of May. The Santa Maria Utilities Department presented the awards to the group of young winners at the City Council’s meeting on May 2.

“I think at third grade they’re little sponges,” Ritchie said. “Teaching them at a young age about conserving the water they have now, any little tips and ideas that will change water use, will positively impact the future.”

From left to right: First place winner Vanessa Cortes, second place winner Admarany Garcia, third place winner Alejandra Aguilar, and honorable mention Adolfo Ramos all received the distinctions for the Santa Maria Utilities Department’s annual Water Awareness Poster Contest.

The contest has grown tremendously since its first year. In 2010, three elementary schools participated and 45 to 50 posters were submitted. Now in its eighth year, seven elementary schools submitted more than 125 posters to the contest.

The level of competition has increased as more teachers and schools get involved, Ritchie said, making it a great way to reach out to students and to promote Water Awareness Month. Part of her job is to educate students about the water cycle, where water comes from, and how to conserve it.

“I thought it’d be fun to incorporate a contest for third grade students to see how they’d symbolize water awareness and why water is important in our community,” she said.

Competitions like this are important for students to help make them aware and involved with issues within the community and how their actions affect the environment, third grade teacher Bonnie McPeters said in an email to the Sun. One of McPeters’ students, Alejandra Aguilar, won third place in the contest.

“Through art, the students are much more engaged and enthusiastic, and were able to have discussions and express themselves in ways they might not by just reading a lesson from a book,” McPeters wrote in the email.

Three judges reviewed the posters, focusing on the artwork, the messages the students conveyed, and their understanding of the importance of water conservation.

The winners were Vanessa Cortes in first place, Admarany Garcia in second place, Alejandra Aguilar in third place, and Adolfo Ramos earned the honorable mention. They received trophies, certificates, and prizes including passes to the Paul Nelson Aquatic Center, and tickets to the Santa Barbara Zoo and Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Intern Emily Holland makes sure to turn off the faucet while brushing her teeth. Reach her through Managing Editor Joe Payne at jpayne@santamariasun.com.

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