New Jersey American Water is committed to “inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards,” according to Senior Director of Communications and External Affairs Denise Venuti Free.
And programs like American Water’s Women’s Employee Business Resource Group, WE CAN (Women Empowerment Champion and Ally Network), they are doing just that. Right before the school year, the company hosted Girl Scout Brownie Troop 27845 at the Delaware River Regional Water Treatment Plant in Delran.
The hope was to educate the girls about environmental stewardship, working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and water treatment. The visit was also in line with Women’s Equality Day to show that women can work in the STEM field.
Ten brownies attended the event and got to spend the day learning about where their water comes from and how it is treated.
“Our primary objective was to motivate and inspire the Girl Scouts to gain knowledge about the water sources in their community and to encourage them to take steps towards safeguarding them,” explained Priscilla Galligani, the program’s lead and cash management manager. “Additionally, we aimed to encourage the Girl Scouts to explore career opportunities in the water industry.”
The theme for the visit was See One, Be One, Galligani said. “We believe that by observing and learning from women in water, they can ‘see one’ and be motivated, to ‘be one’ and pursue a career in the water industry.”
Many of the Girl Scouts were surprised to learn that the water they drink actually comes from the Delaware River and is distributed all around New Jersey.
“Before I’d just get a cup of water and then forget about it,” said Aubrey, a fourth-grade student. “Now that I know how little water we have, I don’t waste it.”
“I learned that we have to respect the people in our community that help us pick up trash,” fourth grader Cassidy said. “Because there’s a lot of trash everywhere. I also learned that trash can go in storm drains when it rains and harm wildlife.”
The Girl Scouts have taken their lessons back to school at Delran Intermediate by educating their peers to throw out water bottles when done. As for becoming a Scout, Kylie, also a fourth grader, noted it was all “to help the community grow and to help people respect other people.”
The American Water program was its first WE CAN collaboration with Scout troops. The company previously hosted events for other troops in south and central Jersey to learn more about where their water comes from. Steminist’s Day was the last program for troops and taught them about the science behind water, with help from a demonstration on treating and filtering.
“Engaging in activities and projects related to water conservation and environmental protection can boost Girl Scouts’ self-confidence as they see the positive impact they can have on their communities,” said Ginny Hill, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey.