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The perfect, locally-made app to help educate kids about stormwater runoff

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – On Earth Day, three local organizations launched an online game to promote awareness of the environmental impact from stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.

History moves throughout the 348-mile James River, and cuts through the city of Richmond with such prominence that it was nicknamed the River City. The James — along with 10 other large rivers — flows into the Chesapeake Bay, another important body of water that feeds history, livelihoods, and recreation.

The bay was identified as a dead zone in the 1970s, a place where waters were so depleted of oxygen that they were unable to support life, resulting in massive fish kills.

Fast forward 40 years and you have major efforts set forth to incorporate individuals, organizations, businesses and governments into the effort of saving the bay.

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is one organization working to inspire local action and stewardship that benefits the land, water and residents of the bay.  They teamed up with engineers in the Timmons Group and developers SRRN Games to design “Stormwater Sentries.”

The game was designed to demonstrate how citizen decisions made on private property can affect local stream health. Players take on challenges, complete missions, earn money and work to create a sustainable town designed to reduce stormwater runoff.

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay hopes that through an engaging experience, the community will understand that wiser environmental decisions can improve water quality in nearby streams, rivers, and thebay.

That is illustrated by some of the tasks in the game: cleaning up oil spills as they happen in the driveway, picking up dog feces and raking leaves, instead of allowing the materials to enter the water and create deadly imbalances. That’s just Level One.

The in-game currency also players to earn coins as they complete tasks, and the coins are used to purchase certain things to help complete more tasks at each level.

It’s designed to be a fun, educational simulation that also has social networking components.

The kids can have a good time while learning important lessons. Could also be great teaching moment when enroute to the river for the day, or to the beach for summer vacation. Not only will kids be occupied, they will get to see the very body of water they are working to save.

The game is available on Facebook, here at Stormwater Sentries.