On May 15, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) announced the 2015 state winners of the U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) — the most prestigious youth award for a water-related science project. WEF Member Associations (MAs) selected and will sponsor the state winners to attend the U.S. competition, scheduled for June 19-20 at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel in Herndon, Va.
Hosted by WEF, with support from Xylem Inc. and local WEF MAs, the 2015 U.S. competition includes student winners from 48 states, plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, for a total of 50 projects. The exhibition and judging will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on June 20 and is open to the public.
A number of winning projects focus on solving stormwater issues. For instance, several students examined ways to enhance permeable pavers to remove pollutants in industrial and agricultural stormwater as well as gasoline- and fecal coliform-containing runoff. One student also studied the effect of a using a biochar-amended fungal biofilter in a rain garden to reduce hydrocarbons.
Others students used water quality monitoring to determine pollutant sources and to test best management practices, such as grazing practices and stream buffers. Another winning project even evaluated the feasibility of utilizing a piezoelectric crystal tree to harvest electrical energy from rainwater.
The purpose of the SJWP program is to increase students’ interest in water-related issues and research and to raise awareness about global water challenges. The competition is open to projects aimed at enhancing the quality of life through improvement of water quality, water resources management, water protection, and water and wastewater treatment.
The U.S. winner will receive $10,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Stockholm, Sweden where they will represent the United States at the international competition during World Water Week, Aug. 23-28. The international winner will receive $15,000 presented during a royal ceremony by the prize’s Patron HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.
The Bjorn von Euler Innovation in Water Scholarship Award, a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by Xylem Inc., also will be awarded to the SJWP state winner who demonstrates a passion for education, spirit of creativity, and innovation.
Paige Brown of Bangor High School was Maine’s winner. Project topic: “Identifying and remediating the sources of pollution in impaired Bangor streams”. Science Teacher – Cary James. Sponsored by the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA)