2022 Student Art & Poetry Contest Winners Recognized During Virtual Celebration

May 2, 2022

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Friday hosted a virtual celebration for student participants in the 36th Annual Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest. This year, DEP received more than 1,500 entries from second through twelfth grade students representing more than 90 public, independent, and parochial schools in New York City and the East and West-of-Hudson Watersheds. Student entries beautifully depicted a genuine understanding of and appreciation for New York’s water resources, the drinking water supply, harbor water, wastewater treatment, and the importance of water conservation. Student entries also raised awareness about the importance of maintaining New York City’s critical water supply and wastewater infrastructure.

Winning entries can be viewed on DEP’s Flickr Page.

“I want to sincerely thank all of the young environmental stewards who participated in this year’s contest. Despite the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, the art and poetry submissions were as creative and impressive as ever,” said DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala.

At the event, the contest winners, called Water Champions, were honored for their outstanding work in the presence of family members, teachers, and school administrators. The celebration also featured remarks and a poetry reading from guest speaker Elizabeth Shvarts, 2022 NYC Youth Poet Laureate. Through paintings, haikus, collages, videos and more, students creatively depicted the importance of water, NYC’s drinking water supply and wastewater treatment systems, marine ecosystems, climate resiliency, and environmental stewardship. A group of judges selected about 100 entries as this year’s Water Champions. All student participants will receive a certificate recognizing their contribution, and the Water Champions will also receive a gift bag from DEP and its partners (including a reusable bag, water bottle, Art & Poetry fanny pack, Art & Poetry button, journals, museum and garden passes, coloring books and more) before the end of the school year.

The 2022 contest focused on five central themes that incorporate STEM and humanities disciplines:

  • Water, A Precious Resource: To recognize the importance of a clean and plentiful supply of water.
  • New York City Water Supply System: To explore the history of the New York City Water Supply System and its present-day source, operation, delivery, protection and maintenance.
  • New York City Wastewater Treatment System: To understand our sewer infrastructure; the purpose of, and process for, cleaning wastewater in New York City and in the East and West of Hudson Watersheds.
  • Harbor Water Quality and Healthy Marine Ecosystems: To discover the richness of our marine life, and opportunities for recreation and commerce on local waterbodies; to understand the work that is being done to monitor and ensure healthy water quality.
  • Water Stewardship and Climate Change: To consider our influence on the environment and how we can address and take action on environmental issues that influence our neighborhoods, our city, and beyond.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP also protects the health and safety of New Yorkers by enforcing the Air and Noise Codes and asbestos rules. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.