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Elkhart educator set to receive grant for water conservation

ELKHART, Ind. - A school project in Elkhart has turned into a district-wide effort to save water.

The teacher who oversaw the project, Carol Kratzer, will head to the Circle City to be recognized at the Big Ten Championship Game Saturday night. She will be receiving $6000 in grant money during the halftime show to pay for the project.

The grant money comes from a partnership with the College Football Playoff and the Big Ten Conference providing a total of $90,000 to 15 teachers across Indiana.

Kratzer worked on the project with her students at Concord West Side Elementary. 

It all started as an entry project for a Lego League Robotics competition with the theme of hydrodynamics.

In researching for the competition, Kratzer’s class found each drink taken from the school’s water fountain was wasting 5 milliliters of water.

The grant money will go towards the installation of filtration devices in the school’s drinking fountains which will cut down on water waste by allowing teachers and students to fill up water bottles instead of drinking directly from the fountain.

“We had to find ways that we could conserve water,” said Esmeralda Perez, a student in the class. “We though the water bottle filling stations would be a very helpful way of conserving water for the school.”

Kratzer says her class has been invested in the project from start to finish.

“This group of kids was very into this project from the get-go,” she said. “I mean when you give a bunch of kids robots they kind a get going on it.”

But it soon meant more than just playing with robots.

“When they started to learn water problems around the world and see what other people have to deal with they really wanted to make a difference,” said Kratzer.

Now the $6000 will help make that difference. It’s the biggest grant Kratzer says she has written.

She hopes the project will not only help the school save money, but also help all students and staff to live healthier lives.

Kratzer says it will likely be months before the devices are installed.

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