The District is involved in many partnerships, as we carry out our mission of providing a clean, safe, reliable water supply for today and the future. And when it comes to the future, we think about what kind of world we'll leave to today's children in our community, as well as their children, and beyond.
One of our community partners which also thinks along these lines is the Santa Cruz Children's Museum of Discovery (MOD). This beloved local nonprofit group focuses on creating an interactive learning environment to inspire and challenge kids and families about the world around us - including the value of water, water sustainability, and using water wisely. We're proud to partner with MOD in the creation of its remarkable new environmental education/water conservation "Eco Home" interactive exhibit.
Construction of this creative, fun and educational exhibit got underway at the museum in mid-2019. With some periodic work continuing during the pandemic, the project is now complete. The District, the MOD staff, and the families of Santa Cruz and other coast-side communities are all looking forward with great anticipation to the post-pandemic day when everyone can come together to experience the Eco Home together.
The Eco Home is a 15 by 15-foot three-wall miniature house designed to demonstrate sustainable living concepts to kids and their parents or caregivers, with an emphasis on water conservation. The MOD applied to the District for a $2,000 Water Education Promotion Mini-Grant to help with the cost of creating the Eco Home. We were very pleased to award this grant, as the project supports local water-related educational events and programs with a major theme or activity promoting water education and conservation, drinking water quality, and/or local water supply issues - everything we want the community to better understand and embrace!
In the true spirit of partnership, the District did more than provide this small, but useful, grant. We were actively involved as this project came together - our staff attended planning meetings, helped to connect the MOD staff with other companies for additional funding and assistance, and provided some technical support as the exhibit came together.
We're all very proud of the truly incredible results! When kids enter the Eco Home, some of the key water-related features they'll experience include:
Interpretive materials around "Five Ways to Save Water in Our Homes" and "Ten Ways You Can Make Your Landscape More Sustainable."
An interactive rainwater catchment system with a "rain cloud," rain barrel, and rain gutters to introduce the concept of reusing rainwater to decrease the use of groundwater, and reducing flow into storm sewers and water treatment systems.
An interactive, child-sized clothes washer and dryer illustrating sustainable laundry practices including elements of a greywater system directed outside the Eco Home to "water" a fruit tree in the exhibit's "yard."
An interactive planter box using wooden fruits and vegetables where children will learn the benefits of using compost and recycled water in agriculture - something particularly relevant in Santa Cruz County.
In addition to those water and conservation education components, the Eco Home includes interactive elements illustrating solar energy, composting, recycling, and other sustainability concepts. Through these and other interactive exhibits and activities, the Eco Home helps empower children to be part of the solution to the problems of water management, climate change, and degradation of the environment.
The environmental education/water conservation Eco Home interactive exhibit was created through a partnership led by the Santa Cruz Children's Museum of Discovery, and including Soquel Creek Water District, Loves Gardens, the City of Santa Cruz, Knox Roofing, Green Space, San Lorenzo Lumber, Allterra Solar, Big Creek Lumber, Mission Tile, Habitat Resource, and all the wonderful community volunteers who helped make it happen.
As always, if you have any questions about this month's topic or anything else related to Soquel Creek Water District, feel free to email Community Outreach or call 831-475-8501, ext. 118.