Preventing West Nile

United States

After reviewing a number of issues affecting their local area, seventh and eighth graders decided to take action and try to stop the spread of the West Nile Virus in their community. They began by conducting Internet research and reviewing information from the Department of Health and the state's River Basin Commission. From their research, they discovered there was no cure, but that members of the community, if educated, could help prevent its spread.

The students sprang into action. They surveyed the community about their knowledge of how West Nile is spread. Based on the results, they created a brochure containing a "Backyard Checklist" for eliminating mosquitoes, which was distributed to local residents and at a nearby mall. Other students created PowerPoint presentations used to educate community groups, schools, and participants at a statewide environmental conference. Finally, a collaboration with the local cable company resulted in a public service video documenting the students' research, actions, and recommendations. The video aired several times on cable TV and was made available to the public.