Engaging with schools and members of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic has presented Loudoun Water with opportunities to fast forward its outreach efforts.
Loudoun Water has taken advantage of the opportunity to present virtual tours and highlight many assets such as the Aquiary, a destination for Loudoun area students, teachers and parents to learn about wetlands, water conservation and water treatment. These resources educate students and community members about the process of maintaining the quality of treated wastewater and biosolids so that they may be beneficially reused as “reclaimed water” and as a recycled soil amendment. Loudoun Water maintains over 1,483 miles of water distribution pipelines, over 1,234 miles of wastewater collection system pipelines and a growing reclaimed non-potable water system to serve over 80,000 households, providing drinking water and wastewater services in the County.
Thanks to the world of technology, Outreach Coordinator Erika Cuevas has set up cameras to allow students to view demonstrations of a watershed – normally a desktop model that she would bring along to in person school visits.
In an average year, Loudoun Water might reach 5,000 – 8,000 students, families, and community members. This year it is about half of that – an accomplishment for developing resources and sharing those with community members, teachers, and school with whom they have built a relationship with over the years. “As community groups and school schedules return to normal, we are confident that outreach and interest in in-person learning will again increase,” Cuevas said. “What we’ve been able to do during the pandemic we believe will only provide added value to our in-person and overall outreach efforts moving forward,” she said.
In addition – the Ashburn campus offers wonderful outdoor trails with opportunities for bird watching galore. To maximize the benefit of these outdoor assets, Cuevas created self-guided scavenger hunts via the trails by installing trail posts and a creating a map. This allows families, children, adults – anyone – to come, walk their dogs, and enjoy the trails and an interactive activity!
Catch and release continues for their retention ponds; community members are invited to bring their fishing rods and take advantage of the ponds with proper social distancing and adherence with COVID-19 guidelines.
One project Loudoun Water is especially proud to be a partner this Earth Day is a now virtual student showcase.
This partnership and all its outreach efforts support its mission to ensure a healthy environment and high quality of life through effective and sustainable management of resources entrusted to their care.
“While I am thankful and grateful for the technology that’s allowed us to continue our outreach to Loudoun County’s citizens, I am more than excited about the potential opportunities as we begin to move out of the current situation,” she said.