Water, free of contamination is important for a healthy community and a clean environment. With education, skills, and empowerment, young people, especially girls, will be powerful resources for change in their community. Save the Water has designed the "Day in the life of a Scientist" (DILOS ) program to engage middle school children on water issues. The program platform is a local solution by the local community.
In Florida Everglades, there is evidence that the water is contaminated with harmful chemicals including pesticides, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, which are all considered Contaminants of Emerging Concern. It is undebatable that unsafe water means poor quality of life for adults and for children, and for the natural environment. DILOS, therefore, is fit for purpose because it provides knowledge and skills to community members affected by the polluted water.
To influence human behavior, knowledge and skills are required. DILOS provides middle school children with the opportunity to increase skills and knowledge on water issues by conducting water quality testing in their schools and in their communities. It is important that children understand topics and issues that affect their lives and learn how to adapt behavior around water consumption and usage to stay healthy and to maintain a clean environment. They are the drivers for change.
The impact is substantial because, through this, young people will get to know how they can own solutions to problems that affect them and their families. DILOS provides an additional edge that is not common to the classroom curriculum even if the materials cover environmental issues. DILOS takes students to the communities to do water testing themselves, reading and understanding the results, sharing and talking about what they experienced. This allows connecting with their environment.