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Stewartsville Elementary 4th-graders get lesson in conservation

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 4:07 a.m.
Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County public relation specialist Gina Cerilli explains water conservation to Stewartsville Elementary fourth-graders Tuesday morning. Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Stewartsville Elementary fourth-graders Kaylee Penberthy, Joseph Rush and Hanna Geissler play water plinko while Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County public relations specialist Gina Cerilli looks on. Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News

Stewartsville Elementary fourth-graders learned about water conservation on Tuesday with the help of a visitor from Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

MAWC public relations specialist Gina Cerilli showed students various pictures of conservation and pollution, some of which were in the children's textbooks.

“I don't think in our lifetime we're going to turn the faucet and green stuff is going to come out,” Cerilli said. “I hope not, but what happens in 200 years if all of you start polluting?

“The people on this earth after you start polluting, do you think their water's going to be green? Yeah. They're using the same water we're using now. So if we make it dirty, that's water they have to use.”

Cerilli informed students of water-related facts such as a leaky faucet can drip 75 liters of water a day, another name for the water cycle is the hydrologic cycle, and that both tap and bottled water are safe to consume. She also played games with the students by asking questions about water.

“If we save our water we can use it over and over again for the people in the future,” said Shain Mosqueda, 10, of North Huntingdon Township, during Water Jeopardy.

Shain's teammate Amelia Flaherty, 10, also of North Huntingdon, said the best time to water a garden in the summertime is in the mornings and evenings.

Amelia said the three phases of water are vapor, liquid and ice.

Shain and Amelia's team won the trivia game and played Water Plinko for prizes while the other team received stickers.

All students received pencil cases and writing utensils and information for their parents about safety devices for pipes.

This was the third annual visit for Cerilli to Stewartsville for her water presentation. Cerilli's visit was organized by fourth-grade science teacher Laura Whalen.

“She offers this free water cycle program to schools and we took advantage of it,” Whalen said. “I contacted her, set up a schedule for the other fourth-grade classes and scheduled her to come in for the day.”

Students also designed a diagram of the water cycle and will keep a daily log of water usage as part of the curriculum.

Whalen's been a science teacher at Stewartsville for eight years, and said it's important to teach children about natural resources.

“I think they need to realize the importance of the process they go through to clean the water and recycle the water, and we also need to conserve as we use it daily,” Whalen said.

Cerilli orchestrates a water presentation for students in preschool through sixth grade, and visits schools two to three times a week.

“I keep the presentations age-appropriate,” Cerilli said. “I do a different one for the younger kids and a little bit harder for the older kids. Seeing the kids get excited about it (is the best part), seeing them excited when they get the answers correct. It's something that they learn in science class and they're able to apply it whenever I come in.”

More information about the municipal authority and water conservation is available online at

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or