Art, Poetry, and Water

We recently hosted our 31st Annual Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest celebration event at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City, Queens. More than 1,800 students (grades 2–12) from 100 schools in New York City, Watershed communities and homeschools were honored for creating more than 1,700 original pieces of artwork and poetry that reflect an appreciation for New York’s water resources, the drinking water supply, harbor water, wastewater treatment, and the importance of water conservation. Student entries also raised awareness about the importance of maintaining New York City’s critical water supply and wastewater infrastructure.

At the event, students were honored as DEP Water Ambassadors and received certificates recognizing their contribution. Additionally, from the more than 1,700 submissions, a group of judges selected 75 entries representing 137 student group projects as this year’s Water Champions. The ceremony also included remarks from Tiphanie Yanique, an award-winning poet and novelist.

The contest focused on five central themes that incorporate STEM education and the humanities:

  • Water, A Precious Resource: To recognize the importance of a clean and plentiful supply of water.
  • New York City Water Supply System: To explore the history of the New York City Water Supply System and its present-day source, operation, delivery, protection, maintenance, and stewardship.
  • New York City Wastewater Treatment System: To examine the purpose of, and process for, cleaning used water in New York City and in the East and West of Hudson Watersheds.
  • Harbor Water Quality & Healthy Marine Ecosystems: To discover the richness of our marine life and opportunities for recreation and commerce on local waterbodies; and to understand the work that is being done to monitor and ensure healthy water quality.
  • Water Stewardship and Climate Change — What Can We Do To Help?: To consider our influence on the environment and how we can address and help to resolve environmental issues that impact our neighborhoods, our city, and beyond.

For more than three decades, DEP’s annual Art and Poetry contest has provided a venue for young New Yorkers to learn about the importance of protecting our environment while simultaneously developing their own means of artistic expression. Nearly half the State of New York relies on the City’s water supply system, so this event serves as a terrific opportunity for students in both New York City and watershed school systems to celebrate our shared natural resources. To view more artwork, go here.

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