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Photo by Laura Inlow, L&C Media Services
(From left) National Great Rivers Research and Education Center Director of Environmental Education and Citizen Science Natalie Marioni, Swarovski Waterschool Global Programme Director Donna Goodman, Swarovski Corporate Responsibility Manager Matthew Rusk and L&C President Dale Chapman pose for a photo on the green roof of the Field Station, overlooking the Mississippi River. The Field Station is the future home of the newest Swarovski Waterschool.
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Photo courtesy of Lewis and Clark Community College
Lewis and Clark Community College’s National Great Rivers Research and Education Center will be home to the newest Swarovski Waterschool, the first and only one located on the Mississippi River and the first in the United States, at the confluence of three great rivers.
EAST ALTON — Lewis and Clark Community College’s National Great Rivers Research and Education Center will be home to the newest Swarovski Waterschool, the first and only one on the Mississippi River and the first in the United States, at the confluence of three great rivers.
Swarovski set up its first Waterschool nearly 16 years ago along the Danube River in Austria to teach children and local communities about safe hygiene practices and the importance of freshwater conservation. Water conservation has been integral to the company since its beginning more than 120 years ago.
“Water continues to be fundamental to our company, and more than ever we understand its place as the source of all life on the planet,” said Nadja Swarovski, member of the Swarovski Executive Board. “This is why, in everything we do to give back to the wider world, we choose to put water first.”
The program educates children and communities about the ecological, economic, social and cultural issues that affect water use on a local and global level, and provides clean drinking water and sanitation in schools and communities. The program has footholds along many great rivers of the world — the Danube (Austria), Ganges (India), Yangtze (China), Nile (Uganda), Amazon (Brazil) and now the Mississippi. Working with local partners, NGOs, schools and government partners around three pillars — access to safe water, water education and water, sanitation and hygiene — the program serves children ages 8-15.
The research center seeks to accomplish similar goals, connecting the Metro East with the Mississippi River through educational programming, including the annual Water Fest for fifth-graders.
“Partnering with Swarovski to develop a Swarovski Waterschool on the Mississippi River is an exciting way to further our educational mission,” said Natalie Marioni, the center’s director of environmental education and citizen science. “This program will empower students to become stewards of change within their river communities while connecting them with Swarovski Waterschool students along other major rivers of the world to provide a global perspective.”
This initial phase includes a collaboration with the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville STEM Center and Goshen Education Consulting Inc.
L&C President and research center Chair Dale Chapman said the partnership will help expand current programming as well as introduce new educational programming to align with ongoing research at the facility.
“Lewis and Clark is defined by its ability to create strategic partnerships and align itself with the world’s great brands,” Chapman said. “We are very proud of our association with Swarovski Waterschool and the corporate culture the company represents, emphasizing values associated with global water issues. They see the importance of educating the next generation and creating a 21st-century consciousness about the conservation of water as a critical resource.”
The center’s Jerry F. Costello Confluence Field Station will be the headquarters of the Swarovski Waterschool along the Mississippi River. This partnership is just one example of the center’s collaborative efforts to create sustainable value at a local and global scale.
“The Swarovski Waterschool is an invaluable opportunity for NGRREC to expand its education and outreach efforts along the Mississippi Watershed,” center Executive Director Gary Rolfe said. “It is important to reconnect citizens, especially the next generation of citizens, with the river, which sustains our communities.”