And the 2022 Magenta House Expo winners are…

Artwork copyright © 2022 Tucker Nichols.

And the 2022 Magenta House Expo winners are…

By   |  Jun. 30, 2022

Magenta House just wrapped a highly successful pilot year for its Accelerator and Expo program, offering project-centered learning on sustainability for middle schools. Heard on the street: we’re turning the town Magenta! 

Artist Tucker Nichols designed trophies for the winners, going to projects that range from a skater shoe repair kit, to worm cultivation for water retention, to an educational campaign on water-friendly landscaping. Potential savings: tens of thousands (yes, tens of thousands) of gallons of water!

Here are the Magenta House program stats you’ll want to know: 4 diverse schools from across the city were involved in the prototype test period, with 11 teams of 82 students offering a total of 9 original projects – all focused on creating a water-wise and power-conscious LA future. The commitment represents some 2,800 hours of dedicated learning time. 

So, we’re excited – and the LA Unified School District (LAUSD) seems excited, too, having just signed a multi-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Pando to carry on the work. LAUSD is the second largest school district in the country, with some 600,000 students in more than 1,000 schools.  .

Expo recap

The Magenta House season wrapped on April 30 with an hour-long showcase Expo. Projects developed in the Magenta House Accelerator over the previous months were eligible for Expo presentation.

Matthew Manos, Magenta House Expo host.

The event was moderated by Matthew Manos, LA designer and Director of Challenge-Based Learning at the USC Iovine and Young Academy. Guest speakers included David Jacot of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz, and Alex Mitchell of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.  

Expo judges included experts from the field, with Deborah Deets (City of LA landscape architect, ret.), Claire Robinson (architect; head of Amigos de los Rios), and Joseph Gallegos (groundwater management expert in private industry). 

Students developed projects in three categories: new outreach and communication initiatives, new programs or systems, and new tools or technologies. 

Challenge category: New tools or technology

This challenge category invited students to invent new water- or power-saving tools or technology that could be implemented in their own backyards. 

A stand-out project is the first prize winner from Palms Middle School:  Vans Sole Repair Kit. The kit is designed to save 2,245 gallons of water every time a sole is replaced on a pair of skater shoes. It represents the kind of inventive and practical thinking we had hoped the program would inspire. 

Other projects in the category include:

The Gravity Powered Generator: From Manzanita School, the submission harnesses gravity to generate power. 

Liquid Choice: Vox Collegiate’s submission features a drinking fountain that recycles unused water and saves up to 15,000 gallons or more of water per year.

Water Wealth: The Palms Middle School project makes greywater systems easier to install and more desirable to use.

Challenge Category: New programs or systems

This category celebrates new water- and power-saving programs or systems. 

The Wonderful Worm from Palms Middle School is the Expo’s second place winner, chosen for an education campaign all about worms and water retention. Having more of these little guys in your yard means pouring on a lot less water. 

A second project in this challenge category also comes from Palms, titled A Small Taste of Zero Waste. It takes aim at eliminating waste as a means to reduce water and power use.

Challenge category: New outreach or communication initiatives

This category is all about using the tools of educational outreach and communications to bring about behavioral change.

Emerson Community Charter Middle School picked up the Expo’s third place prize for Water Wise Warriors. The project devoted an entire book to the idea of transforming inadequately used, and wasteful space into water-friendly gardens. 

Additional category projects include: 

Round Table, from Palms Middle School, with educational podcasts weighing in with water- and power-saving tips.

Electrify, from Manzanita School, with an educational podcast reinforced with an interactive game.

Go here to see the 2022 Magenta House Expo in full.

Members of the Pando writing team include Rich Binell, Alexi Caracotsios, Amy Goldberg, Rebecca Schmitt, and Eugene Shirley.