In 2015, when Laura Kubiak, an Environmental Studies teacher from Toledo, OH, visited the Arctic as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow with National Geographic/Lindblad Expeditions, she picked up a water bottle that had washed ashore on an uninhabited island. It could have come from anywhere, carried north by ocean currents to the land of polar bears and seals. She returned home with an idea that changed the way her classrooms talked about water, and created a platform for people around the globe to share their own water stories. That idea became the H2YOU Project.

"It is thinking about how people interact with the environment. It is how the environment is impacted by people. Every living thing on planet earth has one thing in common: we all need water to survive. Look at a map - all waterways connect. Taking care of our own water is not just taking care of our community - it is caring for the global community's water source. We all share this one source of water."  - Laura Kubiak

What started as a classroom teaching project soon grew into a global movement, with water stories pouring in from all seven continents. Stories about how people interact with water, how issues such as lead in pipes, pollution, and harmful algal blooms affect access to safe drinking water, how a village's water conservation practices in India might impact how a community on the other side of the planet thinks about their own fresh water supply. Stories doing what stories do: connecting people, just as we are all connected by water. Changing the way we talk about it, so that we may better think about how to protect our most valuable resource.

We've come a long way since Laura started the H2YOU Project in 2015. For starters, check out our fancy new website. We're working hard to enhance your H2YOU experience, and 2020 is going to be a big year for us. Here are some of the things we're up to this year:

  • The Launch of h2youproject.org: we're in the process of migrating the hundreds of stories, poems, and pictures from around the globe ​to our new site, with the goal of making our archive of water stories, as well as the ability for visitors to share their own water stories, more accessible and interactive. A redesign of our map interface (coming soon) will allow you to interact with how we are all connected through water, and will provide a valuable geographic literacy tool for classrooms.

 

  • Introducing our Environmental Education Program: storytelling is one of the most effective forms of communication. We have a physiological response to stories, creating meaningful connections between storyteller, subject, and audience. Effective storytellers also have the inspirational power to incite action for meaningful, positive change. Through our work in schools, we have witnessed a significant demand for project-based, cross-curricular learning experiences. In 2020, the H2YOU Project is rolling out an in-class education enrichment program that combines Natural Science, English Language Arts, and Geographic Literacy, all brought together through the lens of effective storytelling techniques. We can't wait to share more about this and what you can do to help.

  • Fundraising: of course we can't do any of this without the generosity of like-minded individuals, such as yourself. As we build our capacity to deliver our programs, please consider donating to the H2YOU Project to support our goal of bringing meaningful change to global water conservation efforts.

Thank you for reading all of that. We know it was a lot of scrolling. But we hope it gave you a better understanding of what we're all about. If you want to learn more, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of this page.

At one with nature, Laura is our fearless leader. She is an environmental educator, India-trained yoga instructor, distance runner, and world traveler. Pretty much the kind of inspiring person we here at H2YOU love to be around.

Founder

LAURA KUBIAK

Matt writes. A lot. He also makes Emmy winning short films, is the editor-in-chief of the Springboard Teen Literary Journal, and a singer/songwriter of a lot of sad songs (and the occasional sappy love song, just to throw everyone off). You can contact Matt at: matt.russell@h2youproject.org.

Executive Director 

MATT RUSSELL

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  • Laura Kubiak, Chair: Natural Science Instructor, Toledo Public Schools

  • Matt Russell, Vice Chair: Executive Director, H2YOU Project

  • Michaela G. Margida, Secretary: Environmental Scientific Researcher and College Science Instructor, The University of Toledo

  • Steve Oswanski, Treasurer: Natural Science Instructor, Toledo Public Schools

 

  • Jay Lake: Workforce Development, Community Relations and Global Media Relations Manager, First Solar