Pittsburgh is known as the City of Three Rivers. As the alias alludes, Pittsburgh is surrounded by flowing water. While much of the country is experiencing substantial drought, Pittsburgh suffers not from too little or too much water, but too much at a time. Heavy rainfall overwhelms the city's outdated storm-water infrastructure and causes "high-water-events" that equate to billions of gallons of raw, untreated sewage emptying into the waterways. These are the same waterways where you see yellow kayaks under the Clemente Bridge, standup paddlers traversing the fountain at Pointe State Park, and boaters docking up to see Kenny Chesney and the Pirates. While the rivers are making a tremendous comeback through conservation efforts, this issue is omnipresent and a long way from being solved. First Waves is introducing a new program as a way to educate youth about this issue and provide solutions through community supporters.
Since its inception, First Waves has provided engaging opportunities for the city's youth to get involved in waterway conservation and education. With help from organizations like Paddle Without Pollution and the Tireless Project, First Waves students and volunteers have cleaned up thousands of pounds of litter from riparian zones from Pittsburgh to Johnstown. These watershed cleanups provide a much-needed short-term solution and an eye-opening lesson for participants, but do not address the high-water pollution that is perhaps the most vital issue pressing Pittsburgh waterways. In order to make long-lasting impacts on the city's rivers while continuing to offer mentorship and education for city youth, First Waves is incorporating a program called the Rain Barrel Co-Op in its 2016 Pittsburgh programming.
The Rain Barrel Co-Op will be integrated as a component of First Waves digital media and conservation curriculums and will give supporters an opportunity to get involved in all facets of the First Waves mission. The program revolves around using Rain Barrel workshops to teach the importance of using rain catchment systems. Furthermore, First Waves will provide rain barrels made from recycled materials to patrons and sponsors, thereby putting the practices into use throughout the community. Each barrel will protect around 100 gallons from becoming polluted storm-water every year. Additionally, by supporting the First Waves Rain Barrel Co-Op, supporters will enable First Waves to engage, educate, and mentor more youth facing adversity.
The Rain Barrel Co-Op has two levels of support:
The Big Paddle
The Big Paddle is aimed at providing a rain barrel to a corporation, local business, or large housing complex. Initially, this will be limited to four sponsors and will go directly to the First Waves Pittsburgh project, which works in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. The sponsorship will allow you or your business the following:
• One rain barrel that will be custom painted by participants during the workshop (includes delivery!)
• Logo and recognition in our HD short-film that showcases whitewater paddleboarding, conservation, and rain barrel workshops
• Logo and recognition in all blogs, posters, and media related to the program
• Participation for 2 - people at any of the FW PGH workshops (including whitewater SUP!)
• Embroidered First Waves Snapback Hat
The Little Paddle
The Little Paddle is aimed at providing a rain barrel to a personal patron, family, or household. Little Paddle’s will help support a multitude of First Waves Projects and receive the following:
• One rain barrel with First Waves Graphics
• Embroidered First Waves Snapback Hat
• Recognition for patrons via social media and FW Blog
• Supports one youth participant facing adversity, allowing them to experience the First Waves program and receive mentorship, watershed education, and outdoor recreation
• Attendance for 2 at the rain barrel workshop
When you become a patron of the First Waves Barrel Co-Op, you are taking a huge step toward waterway conservation and providing mentorship for youth. Not only will you be receiving a rain barrel that will prevent around 100-gallons of polluted storm-water EVERY year, you will also be helping kids facing adversity to learn about these issues and receive an exciting and engaging education in conservation that actually makes them want to be part of the solution. This is an investment in the future of our environment. First Waves students will make a difference immediately and will carry these lessons and experiences throughout their lives. Now, First Waves patrons can be an integral component in every facet of the process. While each drop is just one in the proverbial bucket - we can overflow together to create the First Waves towards a cleaner future.