Student Winners Announced for 2023 Pennsylvania American Water’s Annual “Protect Our Watersheds” Art Contest

Winners to be featured in company’s “Protect Our Watersheds” wall calendar, highlighted on social media

Art contest 2023

Sixth grader Emma Marie Ferree of Eagle View Middle School in Mechanicsburg
earned the grand prize in Pennsylvania American Water’s annual “Protect Our Watersheds” art contest.

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (June 1, 2023) – Pennsylvania American Water today announced the winners of its 21st Annual “Protect Our Watersheds” art contest, with a sixth-grade student from Cumberland County scoring top honors. The company received more than 300 entries from fourth, fifth and sixth graders across the Commonwealth.

Sixth grader Emma Marie Ferree of Eagle View Middle School in Mechanicsburg earned the grand prize for her artwork, which will be featured on the cover of Pennsylvania American Water’s annual “Protect Our Watersheds” wall calendar. The calendars will be printed and distributed across the Commonwealth later this year for use in 2024. 

“With increasing emphasis on environmental education in schools, we are seeing more students take an active role in watershed preservation and protection,” said Laura Martin, senior director of government and external affairs for Pennsylvania American Water. “Activities like our art contest help to remind us that we all have a part in protecting our water sources.”

In addition to highlighting artistic ability, Pennsylvania American Water’s contest also asks that participants accompany their artwork with a written description of how watershed protection affects them personally.

Ferree’s artwork earned first prize among all Pennsylvania entries and for the sixth-grade category. Summer Rupp of Spring-Ford 5/6 Intermediate School in Royersford, Montgomery County, placed second among sixth graders, followed by Rhythm Mandal, also of Eagle View Middle School, in third place.  

In the fifth-grade category, first place was awarded to Elizabeth Gawel of Horace Mann Elementary School in Indiana, Indiana County. Second place went to Olivia Novoa, of Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy in Norristown, Montgomery County. Anahialy DeJesus Aimee, of Northeast Intermediate School in Scranton, Lackawanna County, placed third.

Among fourth graders, Olivia Lombardo from Guardian Angel Academy in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, place first; followed by Julia Lane, also a student at Guardian Angel Academy, in second; and Abigail Borsa, of George Washington Elementary School in Bethel Park, Allegheny County, in third.

In addition to having their artwork featured in the 2024 wall calendar, winners will receive bookstore gift cards.

Three runners-up have also been selected, and their artwork will be featured in the calendar and highlighted on the company’s social media channels. They are: Zhining Li, a sixth grader from Spring-Ford 5/6 Intermediate School; Kira McCoy, a fifth grader from All Saints Academy in Duryea, Luzerne County; and Kaelyn Gapinski, a fifth grader from Butler Catholic School in Butler County.

Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and wastewater services to approximately 2.4 million people. For more information, visit and follow Pennsylvania American Water on Twitter and Facebook.

About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE: AWK) is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs approximately 6,500 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and regulated-like drinking water and wastewater services to an estimated 14 million people in 24 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable, and reliable water services to our customers to help keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and Follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

David Misner

External Affairs Manager, Central PA


Kara Rahn

Senior Manager, Government and External Affairs, Eastern PA


Susan Turcmanovich

External Affairs Manager, Northeast PA


Gary Lobaugh

Senior Manager, Government and External Affairs