Thanks to a small group of art students, many storm drains near Sharon High School have been painted with colorful murals to help educate the public about stormwater pollution.
Why the focus on storm drains? What flows down storm drains affects the health of drinking water, wildlife and recreation. When rain hits hard surfaces, like streets and parking lots, it washes contaminants like pet waste, bacteria, oil, litter, fertilizer, and grass clippings into storm drains, and then directly into local waterways, untreated.
Runoff is a serious problem for all communities across the state, and on July 1, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency implemented the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permit, which requires towns in MA to take action to prevent polluted stormwater discharge.
In an effort to educate residents in Sharon, the Neponset River Watershed Association collaborated with the Sharon Water Department and Sharon High School on the Storm Drain Mural Project.
NepRWA’s Outreach Director, Nancy Fyler, visited with high school art students to discuss the use of public art as an educational tool, and she challenged the group to create murals around the school’s storm drains to bring attention to polluted stormwater runoff. Working with their art teacher, students researched the topic and then translated their ideas from paper to pavement. The impressive results are permanently on view for anyone who walks along Pond St., from the high school toward Lake Massapoag.
This is not the first time that students at Sharon High School have worked with the Neponset River Watershed Association and the Sharon Water Department on water issues. Fyler is thankful to have a partner in SHS art teacher, Janine Gardner, who supports environmental issues and works to integrate real world challenges into her lesson plans.
Working with the Watershed Association inspires Gardner as well. “The students learn about important environmental issues and get to use their creativity in a very helpful way. Hopefully, they will remember these lessons long after they leave Sharon High School.”
Learn more about keeping local water clean at www.YourCleanWater.org
Supplies for the mural project were generously donated by the Sharon Water Department.