OKLAHOMA CITY – Recycling paper and cans may seem somewhat removed from water conservation, but according to Allie Barton, Latta High School student, it is connected.

Barton entered the first Water Conservation Essay contest hosted by the Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and Oklahoma 4-H and was chosen as one of two runners-up in the 9th and 10th grade category. Barton received a certificate and a $1,000 savings bond courtesy of Chesapeake Energy and Sierra Club of Oklahoma.

Barton’s essay discussed the importance of recycling and the amount of water that could be saved by recycling paper and aluminum cans. Barton hopes to form a recycling club at her school.

Writing, speech, drama and acting are some of Barton’s interests. The writing part is what interested Barton the most. What began as an assignment turned into something fun.

“My teacher presented it to me through an assignment, but as soon as I began brainstorming ideas it was no longer an assignment. It almost became like a fun job,” Barton said. “I realized the difference I could make and the difference others could make in water conservation.”

Barton is the daughter of Scott and Mitchelle Barton and the granddaughter of Carl and Aileen James and Ruth Barton.

The essay contest was divided up into three grade categories and over 140 entries were received.

“We were very pleased with, not only the number of essays we received, but also the content of those essays,” said Mike Langston, OWRRI assistant director.

“The students came up with some great ideas that we will share with the Water Board. We are grateful to Chesapeake Energy and the Sierra Club for sponsoring this opportunity for Oklahoma’s young water conservers.”

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins presented the awards at the 50th Anniversary Banquet of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.

The contest had two purposes, to promote water conservation among Oklahoma’s youth and to get the word out about the state’s work to update its Comprehensive Water Plan.

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