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Victor Valley Students Win Top Awards in Stormwater Pollution Solutions

HESPERIA – The Mojave River Watershed Group (MRWG), a collaborative effort among various High Desert cities to prevent stormwater pollution, has partnered with area schools for its fourth consecutive year to honor local science fair students from each district with the Top Water Award – an exclusive honor for High Desert students who demonstrate excellence in exploring ways to address water issues. This year, two stormwater savvy students from the City of Hesperia and the Town of Apple Valley were chosen as MRWG’s Top Water Award winners.

Stormwater pollution is contamination that occurs when water runoff from rain or even our landscaping sprinklers becomes polluted by toxins like litter, pesticides, fertilizer, motor oil, pet waste and more. In the High Desert, this water flows directly over land and roads to the Mojave River, into the ground or an untreated storm drain system. The effects of this kind of pollution are harmful to the health of our families and the local wildlife. Both award winners demonstrated insightful and unique ways to recognize and resolve stormwater pollution in the community.

Fourth grade student Ella Cerna from Krystal School of Science, Math and Technology in Hesperia explored stormwater pollution with her project entitled “Water Toxicity: Less is Too Much.” Ella took several sediment samples from her driveway to create stormwater samples. In order to test the toxicity level and impacts to a living organism, Ella exposed fleas to the stormwater samples. Based on her findings, the fleas exposed to the toxic stormwater samples displayed less energy and vitality, demonstrating the negative effects of stormwater pollution on living things.

Zachary Benetatos, an eighth grader from Sitting Bull Academy presented his project, “Oil Free Ocean: An Environmentally Safe Solution,” at the Apple Valley Unified School District Science Fair. Using his own brochures and website as visual aids, Zachary’s project identified the best solutions to use for cleaning up oil spills. This kind of research is key to protecting the ocean – and especially the Mojave River, the High Desert’s main local source of water.

In addition to being recognized with MRWG’s Top Water Award, both students were selected to move on to the Riverside Inyo Mono San Bernardino (RIMS) County Science Fair to be held on April 1 & 2 at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino, Calif.

“The Mojave River Watershed Group is an outstanding community partner who has provided several relevant and engaging student workshops for us,” said Meg Deppe, Apple Valley Unified School District Science Coach and Science Fair Coordinator. “They have shared their lessons and materials with students at our District Science Fair for a number of years, providing awards for outstanding environmental science projects and being an outstanding, free resource to our community.”


The Mojave River Watershed Group (MRWG) is an organization dedicated to educating the High Desert community including the City of Hesperia, the City of Victorville, the Town of Apple Valley and other unincorporated areas of the County of San Bernardino about stormwater pollution prevention. For more information on how to easily prevent stormwater pollution or request a school presentation, visit or call 909-384-8188.

source:  Mojave River Watershed Group 

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