From: Kayla Boettcher
Miss Winona 2019
Hello! I’m Miss Winona 2019, Kayla Boettcher. This fall I will be a junior at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota majoring in environmental biology. Each month I’ll be posting an article speaking on my social-impact initiative, what the Miss Minnesota/Miss America Organization is up to, as well as other topics centered around wellness.
Before diving into everything, I’d like to talk a bit about myself and what my goals are as Miss Winona 2019. I first became involved with the Miss America Organization in hopes of becoming more connected to the Winona community and, on a personal note, increasing my self-confidence. A big part of the Miss America Organization is giving back and promoting our social-impact initiative, a project that we’re passionate about that will benefit our community. My social-impact initiative is called H2Whoa: Don’t Go With the Flow. Through this I want to educate others on the importance of conserving water as well as understanding the role it plays in the world around us.
One reason why water availability is not seen as an issue in our area is because here in Winona, we are surrounded by water. We have the Mississippi River and Lake Winona right in the middle of the city. As a community, and even a state, we tend to take water for granted because it’s so readily available to us and such a big part of our daily lives. Few residents know that Lake Winona is currently struggling because of an excess of nutrients and a low dissolved oxygen concentration. If we look outside Minnesota, we can clearly see that the rest of our country is not nearly as lucky as we are when it comes to water availability. There are many parts of the West where they have no guarantee that water will be available as well as strict laws on when they are even allowed to water their yards.
One way that I am hoping to increase awareness of these issues is to begin by educating school-age children on easy ways to conserve water and where water goes after they are done using it. I will be using recent research and lots of interactive activities to make it easier for others to take in the information. By giving community members a way to connect with the information, they’ll then be able to understand it better. From there they may be inspired to make small changes in their daily lives or even lifestyle changes to help conserve and protect the water in their area and beyond. Saving the entire world is an enormous prospect, but my hope is that by giving others the tools to make change that they can use them to transform their world.