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Millcreek Journal

Nibley Park students create winning video addressing Salt Lake County water issues

Feb 02, 2022 01:14PM ● By Lizzie Walie

Takarah Parker and Kadence Gholson win the Big Idea category for the Salt Lake Coalition Water Science and Engineering Competition. (Courtesy of Salt Lake City School District)

By Lizzie Walje | [email protected]

Each year the Salt Lake County Stormwater Coalition holds a series of competitions for Utah students K-8. The competitions are broken down categorically, however, each challenge encourages students to take initiative by creating and championing their own ideas regarding water conservation and sustainability. Two Nibley Park Middle School students, Takarah Parker and Kadence Gholson were recognized for their video titled “Get Your Trash Out of the Gutter.” 

Students are given the opportunity to participate in one of four competitions: Big Idea, Prototype, Experiment and Nature as a Solution. Takarah and Kadence won in the 2021 Big Idea category which calls for students to create a persuasive and detailed three- to six-minute video focusing on a specific water issue and consequently outlining a solution for said issue. Takarah and Kadence, both eighth-graders at Nibley Park, created a Public Service Announcement that focused on keeping stormwater drains clean by keeping trash and other waste out of city gutters. In addition to their recognition and award, each girl was given a $100 Amazon gift card. 

Both Takarah and Kadence were inspired by the issue of gutter cleanliness because it affects nearly all neighborhoods but is rarely talked about. “We wanted to bring awareness to non-point source pollution,” Kadence said. “If you’ve ever seen rainbow color water pooled by your storm drains, you’re actually looking at pollutants. That rainbow is actually non-point source pollution. It may look pretty but these pollutants affect the health of our lakes which can affect everything from water supply to tourism.”

“Beyond any money issue,” Kadence said, “the biggest problem is keeping up with our world’s health.” Both girls were motivated to speak on the issue of storm drainage because it’s an issue that has many possibilities for solutions. 

“One simple solution is community cleanups,” Takarah said. “Anyone can participate and all it takes is getting together a group of people to remove trash from the gutters. These community cleanups can be started by anyone in the community from mayors to schools.”

Outside of trash cleanups, everyday efforts such as undergoing routine checkups on your vehicle can lead to better quality water for everyone. Ensuring that your vehicle is not leaking oil and picking up after your pet, are just a few solutions that can lead to changes. 

“With a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of care, we can get our trash out of the gutters,” Kadence said. For these two students, the pinnacle of their message was to find a way to actively engage the community and do so in a compelling and easy-to-follow way. 

As far as the Stormwater Coalition is concerned, the two students successfully created a compelling PSA. 

Carrie Culter, of the Salt Lake County Stormwater Coalition, said, “Congratulations to Takarah and Kadence. And to all those other students who took the time to participate. We thank all of these students for their entries. We are proud to see young minds take an interest in these pressing issues and look forward to holding the competitions again next year.”