Colorado mountains

The Science of Water Art: A Citizen Science Project

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Holly Vins
Colin Kunzweiler
Christopher Roberts
Melissa Beresford
Amber Wutich
Alexandra Brewis

The Science of Water Art project is a collaborative work that brings together professionals, community members, college students and children to think about the role that water plays in each of our lives.  Using a sample of 4th grade classrooms in Maricopa County, over 3000 drawings of children's perception of water today and in the future were collected. The 9-11 year olds were asked to draw pictures of 1) how they saw water being used in their neighborhood today (T1), and 2) how they imagined water would be used in their neighborhood 100 years from now (T2). The artwork was then collected and coded for nine different themes, including: vegetation, scarcity, pollution, commercial sources of water, existing technology, technology innovation, recreational use, domestic use, and natural sources of water. Statistically significant differences were found between T1 and T2 for all codes and between boys and girls for vegetation, existing tech, and technological innovation. This project allows for a look into how climate change and water insecurity is viewed by younger generations and gives a voice to children so that they may share their outlooks on this vital resource.

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Background Photo by: Nicole Hansen - Jornada (JRN) LTER