The classroom and garden were part of the city’s prize for winning the 2014 National Mayor’s Challenge
Population growth, extreme weather patterns, drought and infrastructure all threaten access to a steady, sustainable water supply in the United States. On April 9, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Wyland and Toyota North America participated in an event to celebrate sustainability and talk to students about the importance protecting clean water. The event took place at Cochran Elementary School in Dallas, Texas.
“Our water challenges require new solutions to ensure our children grow up healthy, our schools stay safe and hospitals continue to run for the next 100 years and beyond. That is why EPA is committed to finalizing our Clean Water Rule this spring,” McCarthy said. “EPA is committed to working with cities and mayors on water projects that will benefit public health, the environment and the local economy.
In 2014, the city of Dallas won the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. As part of the prize, organizers donated a water-efficient outdoor classroom and student garden to the school. The project creates an environment within the school's courtyard that uses Texas native trees, plants and grasses, decomposed granite pathways, low-cost water efficient irrigation and weather sensors, and student gardens for each grade.
“In Dallas, we've demonstrated our commitment to water conservation by changing our behaviors—in our daily personal routines and in our business practices,” Rawlings said. “Each of us has a role to play in conserving our natural resources and I'm pleased that we are imparting the value of conservation to our greatest resource—the young people of our community.”
“Toyota is proud to be the national presenting sponsor of the fourth Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. We place a high priority on creating an environmentally sustainable future, and preserving our nation’s precious water resources is key to keeping that promise for future generations,” said Toyota Senior Vice President for Engineering Kevin Butt. “We want to help set an example for today’s students everywhere who will become guardians of America’s natural resources for generations to come.”
“The Cochran Elementary School project is a great example of the many ways we can bring the goals of the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation to life in a meaningful way,” said Wyland. “It re-imagines how we use our outdoor spaces to make them more functional, while taking in account practical ways that we can sustain the landscape without requiring substantial water use or costs. More importantly, it provide the students with beautiful native gardens to nurture and discover for years to come.”
Throughout the month of April, civic leaders across the country are encouraged to step up and inspire their residents to join the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. The competition is focused on individual pledges to reduce water and energy consumption. Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in their population category win.
Last year, residents from more than 3,600 cities across the U.S. pledged to decrease their annual fresh water consumption by more than one billion gal, prevent more than 70 million lb of hazardous waste from entering watersheds, reduce waste sent to landfills by 36 million lb and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5.3 billion lb.