Berks group using art to educate about storm drain pollution

READING, Pa. - The Schuylkill Action Network and the Berks Conservancy are using street art to educate residents about pollution that enters local waterways from storm drains.

On Thursday, the Schuylkill Action Network and Berks Conservancy will install a storm drain art exhibit in City Park at 11th and Washington streets in downtown Reading. The design will also be visible to those visiting the Berks Conservancy headquarters.

"Many people don't realize that most storm drains connect to local streams that then flow into larger rivers like the Schuylkill River" said Virginia Vassalotti, who works for the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary as the Schuylkill Action Network Fellow. "Our goal is to educate residents about this connection and encourage behavior change, resulting in less trash and pollution entering storm drains and our waterways."

"Water is an important resource for all of us", said Kim Murphy, President of the Berks Conservancy. "Encouraging others to learn about storm water, watersheds, and healthy streams will have a positive impact on the general health of our environment."

The design was created by Bence Veres, a seventh-grade, home-schooled student in the Reading area. Bence was the winner of the Schuylkill Student Street Art Contest, a drawing contest held by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

Bence said he chose a frog for his design because he "loves amphibians and they suffer a lot if the water is polluted." He added that his message, "remember your friends in the water," means that "people need to pay attention to all living creatures in the environment since they all play a big part in our ecosystem."

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