One Water Three Years Later

I'm excited to share this article from Amber Smith, Education Program Manager at LOTT's WET Science Center, about One Water: The Infinite Journey. As we gear up to present a Plankton Painting and Science workshop this week, it's fun to look back on this past collaboration and hear Amber's perspective on the project. One Water is installed  at the WET Science Center, where its story is shared as part of their education programs.

Thank you Amber!

What comes to mind when you think of a wastewater treatment plant? I would bet it’s not a LEED Platinum rated building housing a science center and award-winning education programs. The LOTT Clean Water Alliance in downtown Olympia is pretty unique, and is recognized internationally as a utility of the future. This means we pioneer innovative technologies and cutting-edge practices, with a focus on resource recovery, efficiency, sustainability, and community engagement.

LOTT partners with local school districts, hosting nearly 4,000 students on field trips each year. We’re continually looking for innovative ways to attract, engage, and empower students with diverse interests and skills. In 2016, we partnered with Carrie Ziegler on a collaborative art and education project targeting local middle school students. We were familiar with the successes of Carrie’s previous projects, and we couldn’t wait to have a unique student-made art installation in the front windows of our science center.

Carrie traveled to numerous schools and made nearly 50 presentations on how water cycles through our natural and urban areas, the importance of clean water, and water conservation. We wanted students to think about how important water is in their lives, and how we are sharing and managing one water. Following the presentation, students created embossed aluminum water drops and fish. They illustrated how their lives are connected to water and why water is important to them. It was fascinating to see the hanging mural come to life. Throughout one week, Carrie worked with our staff, volunteers, and students to create a beautiful infinity symbol made of water drops. It shows the continuous cycle of water from our urban areas to Puget Sound. An iconic orca whale on one side and water swirling down the drain on the other. It has no beginning or end, just like the water cycle itself. The mural, titled One Water: The Infinite Journey, debuted on Earth Day during Olympia’s spring Arts Walk festival. Hundreds of people, including participating students and their families, came to see the piece.

Nearly three years later, the mural still serves as a teaching tool in our school and community education programs. It’s also a conversation piece and welcomes visitors to the WET Science Center. Visitors are in awe of the piece, take pictures, and ask questions. Visiting utility professionals take note of the unique project that won the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association’s sustainability education award. Even more powerful, teachers and students that participated in the project still visit and proudly share that their water drop is hanging up there somewhere.

For more information and pictures visit