After dedicating countless hours to creating an environmental masterpiece, the ZF Water Miners received recognition and an honorable award this summer.
Ten girls and boys from the ages of 9 to 16 (Adeeba Allimulla, Huda Kose, Furkan Kose, Yusuf Kose, Nur Kose, Merve Kekik, Mirac Kekik, Yusuf Patel, Hana Hubert, Yousuf Ahmed), the ZF Water Miners were dedicated and a determined youth willing to accomplish a challenging, yet exciting, goal. Having found out about the Delaware Department of Natural Resources’ Youth Rain Barrel Competition only a few days before the due date, they quickly set out to meet as a team and come up with a unique design for a rain barrel. The team was led by creative retired art teacher, Mrs. Barbara Hashem, who served as a guide and support during the entire project.
After researching intensively about rain barrels, every member of the team pitched in with an awesome idea for their design. Eventually, they were able to combine all of their ideas in one design: a clothesline with various scenes demonstrating the uses of rain barrels on the clothes. In case they were selected as semi-finalists, the Water Miners chose the Delaware Food Bank as the location for their potential rain barrel.
One fateful day in April, the team discovered that their sketch was chosen among a few others to go on to the next stage of the contest! The Delaware Department of Natural Resources was going to provide them with a rain barrel on which they would be able to paint their design. After a carefully planned shopping expedition for painting supplies, the ZF Water Miners began setting the dates to paint. In order to achieve the look they wanted and to meet the deadline, they would have to meet two or three times a week for a few hours at a time.
Before even beginning to paint on the barrel itself, the members practiced drawing various parts of the design on paper. They spent hours painting the same designs again and again and practiced mixing together various colors to achieve the perfect look. Finally, it was time to start working on the rain barrel. Each member was in charge of a different portion of the design. Some drew the background, using a careful mixture of colors for the sky, grass, and fence. Next came the bright-colored flowers, birds and clothes on the clothesline. The last finishing touch was a delightful little pond with ducks in it.
The ZF Water Miners submitted pictures of their rain barrel with hopes to make it to the top. All together, they had spent about 100 hours on this project and they were determined to see their rain barrel succeed.
Once the online voting period was finished, the team was rewarded for their efforts. Their rain barrel was selected among only four others to be honored at the Annual Governor’s DNREC Award Ceremony at the DE annual State Fair. The ZF Water Miners were extremely pleased to be distinguished with this honor, but they were even more excited that their rain barrel would be put to good use once the competition was completed.
On August 19, the team headed to the Delaware Food Bank with their rain barrel to take it to its new home. From now on, the rain barrel wouldn’t be simply a display piece; it would now be a container for rainwater that would be used to water the Food Bank’s vegetable and flower garden. The ZF Water Miners felt pleased that they were able to make such a positive difference for the environment, even as they felt nostalgic saying a final good-bye to their rain barrel as they left the Food Bank with memories to last a lifetime.