Nutrient pollution is one of the nation’s most difficult environmental challenges. While nutrients are essential compounds for functioning ecosystems and the production of food, fiber, and livestock feed, excessive nutrient levels can dramatically alter aquatic environments and threaten economic and human health. Today, EPA, USGS, ED, the Great Lakes 5 Observing System, and Esri are announcing the “Visualize Your Water” Challenge. This Challenge seeks to engage the innovative spirit of high school students in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay watershed states to create compelling visualizations about nutrient pollution using geographic information system (GIS) software in conjunction with water quality data collected through Federal, state, and local efforts.
The “Visualize Your Water” Challenge will help students cultivate career-oriented skills and learn about local nutrient pollution issues while encouraging environmental stewardship. This Challenge continues the work of the Challenging Nutrients Coalition, a coalition of Federal agencies and non-governmental organizations with the mission of improving our ability to measure, understand, and reduce nutrient pollution. This Challenge also builds on Esri’s philanthropic contribution of GIS mapping software to K-12 schools under the ConnectED Initiative.
This challenge is part of Challenge.gov, a historic effort by the Federal Government to collaborate with members of the public through incentive prizes to address our most pressing local, national, and global challenges. True to the spirit of the President’s charge from his first day in office, Federal agencies have collaborated with more than 200,000 citizen solvers— entrepreneurs, citizen scientists, students, and more—in more than 440 challenges, on topics ranging from accelerating the deployment of solar energy, to combating breast cancer, to increasing resilience after Hurricane Sandy.