Chatham News

An Exhibit On Water To Help Build Local Awareness and Stewardship

PITTSBURGH – Two Chatham University Master of Sustainability graduate students at the new Falk School of Sustainability have teamed with their professor to create an interactive, transdisciplinary exhibit that explores the complex pathways of water in Pittsburgh’s landscape and in local people’s lives. Ann Payne and Kristen Reynolds, both second-year graduate students, are co-designing the exhibit, called The Drop Project, as part of their final thesis project along with Chatham sustainability professor and ecologist, Dr. Molly Mehling.

Opening April 4th and running through April 30th at the Assemble gallery space at 5125 Penn Avenue in the Garfield neighborhood, the exhibit will have rotating activities and guest speakers against a backdrop of various aspects of water in the region, from where it begins its journey in headwater streams, to our homes and bodies, and through the underground world of pipes to the wide world beyond Pittsburgh.

Visitors will bump their way through stream rocks made from recycled fabrics and will learn about the visible and invisible pollution that stress our waterways, which includes everything from plastic to pharmaceuticals.  They will engage in creative, unconventional approaches to allow visitors to understand the problems, but also the personal practices, or “little drops” that can truly make a difference.

A major objective for The Drop Project is to provide a playful experience to learn about water, but also connect stakeholders. Water is a valuable and contentious resource in the Pittsburgh region and around the world. The Drop Project seeks to connect communities to action organizations, government agencies to non-profits, artists to scientists, and recreationalists to resource managers. Local sponsors of the project include Awesome Pittsburgh, Chatham University, and donations from the group’s GoFundMe site.

The mission and vision of The Drop Project is to share knowledge that inspires and connects individual lifestyle choices to watershed and human health; and to share knowledge that inspires and connects individual lifestyle choices to watershed and human health. It is the initial stage of Water Connects, a larger series of projects around water resources directed by Dr. Molly Mehling. You can connect, donate and learn more about The Drop Project at

Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pa., has a long history of commitment to women’s leadership and issues advocacy, and is the alma mater of environmental icon, Rachel Carson. Today, Chatham is recognized as a leader in the field of sustainability, having been named to The Princeton Review’s Green College Honor Roll, been honored by the US EPA, named to Sierra magazines list of top 25 “cool schools” and mentioned in a 2012 Forbes article as one of the places “contributing to Pittsburgh’s transformation into a destination for green living.” Building on these accomplishments, Chatham will open in early 2014, the world’s first fully sustainable campuses in higher education, Eden Hall Campus, with completion of the first stage of construction on its 20-year master plan.

Consisting of three colleges and the Falk School of Sustainability, Chatham’s works to prepare its 2,000+ undergraduate and graduate students to create a brighter, healthier tomorrow through the fields of sustainability, health and lab sciences, creative and design arts, business and education.