Note:  Past blog posts make it clear that I highly respect the innovative work of Clean Memphis, its executive director Janet Boscarino, and the Clean Memphis team.  They are impact players whose work becomes more and more crucial by the year. 

Clean Memphis Partners with IP to Create Water is Wonderful Curriculum for Elementary Students

  • Global effort begins in Memphis 

Clean Memphis and International Paper have joined forces to create Water is Wonderful curriculum to help educate elementary school students about water conservation in Shelby County and across the world.

Water is essential to life and makes up more than two thirds of our planet. But only a small fraction of that water is available for use by the billions of people on Earth. International Paper has long worked to recycle paper and boxes to make new paper products and now they are taking this approach into the classroom to teach how plants absorb and transport water and how pollutants in water are absorbed by plants. Students will also learn about championing forest management practices.

“We are so proud to have worked with International Paper to develop this comprehensive and fun curriculum about the importance and scarcity of clean, fresh water,” said Clean Memphis Director of Education Michelle Cowan. “We are committed to making Memphians better stewards of our water here in Memphis, and happy to work with International Paper as they distribute this curriculum throughout the United States and around the globe.

Paper requires a lot of water to produce, but International Paper takes seriously their role as a water steward in the communities where they operate. They have continuously improved their overall water footprint since 2010. This includes significant improvements in the quality of treated water returned to the environment, and in total water use per ton of production. 

“At International Paper, we work to build a better future for people and the planet and we are committed to improving the long-term sustainability of shared water resources,” said Dr. Alissa Campbell Shaw, Senior Manager of Global Corporate Social Responsibility at International Paper.  “We believe that stewardship means striving to leave everything in better shape for future generations, and hope that, with this curriculum, students will learn to be good stewards of water in their own lives.”

Not only will Clean Memphis be using this curriculum in the classroom directly, they will also be training local teachers, giving them an opportunity to get a full kit of materials and supplies for their own classroom.

For more information about Water is Wonderful or to learn more about an upcoming professional development, contact


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