City: Junin de los Andes
Summary - Marianela is a student in Argentina who is passionate about the environment. She tested the water quality in her community and shared her findings with the community.
Marianela Pepe has been interested in the environment from a young age; she began promoting her school in tree plantations and participation in the ENO Programme. She began to take measurements of water quality with her friends and family and then they decided to conduct an investigation sampling at several sites to determine the state of the river and raise public awareness. By knowing the current state of water quality in the Chimehuin River and raising awareness to other young people; Marianela is able to educate the population about the need to protect and preserve the current status.
The town of Junin de los Andes is located in a touristic area, with beautiful landscapes. In the summer its population triples and this generates greater use of water and increased flow of sewage and garbage. In this area it rains only in the winter and in the summer the river flow decreases and is much more exposed to contamination. The population is not fully aware of the need to protect the natural resource. Water quality is good, but it is urgent to know the areas of greatest impact, how to care for the riverbanks, afforestation, and water quality care.
Marianela’s goal is to know the current status of water quality in the river Chimehuin in rural areas and in areas of high impact as the coastal in Junin de los Andes. Measuring the impact of climate change (which is causing more rain and less snow in winter) and the impact of volcanic ash fall (of recent eruptions of Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano and Calbuco volcano). She performs measurements of dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, temperature, pH, and nitrates. Also she takes samples of macroinvertebrates to identify the presence or absence of sensitive changes in water quality species.
When not sampling the water and conducting science experiments, Marianela is planting trees in her school and participating in global campaigns like Tree Planting Day to raise public awareness. She has also cooperated with other young people from different countries that are taking a call to action to work together on environmental issues. Such as the ENO Campaign for exchanging video program with other schools: https://youtu.be/Hk2kRtpm-3E and https://youtu.be/Y6c92fs563c. Furthermore, Marianela participated with other young people from different countries in the video Generation Change-2015 White House Student Film Festival: https://youtu.be/N6IsVgVesqQ.
These actions have had a positive impact on the local community. Some of her friends have started working together, to help in the samples. Other young people are concerned about environmental problems and undertake research alongside them. She has started to work together with students from another school (CEI “San Ignacio”), with Don Bosco Explorers and their classmates in her project. Together they created the Science Club at their school. She has campaigned to call more students to research their natural resources: http://troutcongress.org/content/%E2%80%9Cteach-your-children-well%E2%80%9D%E2%80%A6and-your-adults-too.
Experts 1Katie Zach Goldman, Lead Evaluator Katie Reusch, Partnerships Expert
Experts 2Carla Friedman, Youth Expert