The WaterMe project

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By Jasmine Teng

Photogtaphy by Jasmine Teng

IMG_1798The WaterMe project is created by Jasmine Teng, a high school senior at Crofton House School. Jasmine grew up in Shanghai and moved to Vancouver five years ago. Ever since then, she has been an active member of the community and student at her school. Strongly connected to nature and the environment, Jasmine has always wanted to contribute to the community by bringing a little green into the city. Jasmine Teng is very involved in her school; she is a student leader and an active member of numerous extra-curricular. As it is her final year in high school, Jasmine has set a goal for herself to be more active in her community outdoor the ivy walls of Crofton House. With her involvement in local senior homes and this project along the way, Jasmine Teng hopes to leave an impact in her community before she goes off to college. Currently in her grade twelve year, Jasmine is putting together an art portfolio for college applications. Interested in both creative and academic aspects of design, Jasmine hopes to study both facets in university which consequently is actually how the WaterMe project came about.

The WaterMe project was originally created in response to a prompt of an admission challenge. The prompt was to created a three-dimensional gift that demonstrated human spirit. When the word “gift” came to mind, Jasmine immediately thought of an interactive project. Being a student leader at her school, Jasmine has always been involved with her community. In her grade ten year, Jasmine was part of an outdoor education program at her school in which she spent a lot of time in nature and its surroundings. Ever since, Jasmine has tried to keep a conscientious mind and incorporate her passion for nature into her design projects and artwork.

IMG_4600The WaterMe project is a gift to the community. It is a chance for people to come together and foster one plant. A project that demonstrates environmentally friendly techniques. From the reusable soup cans that the project were made out of to the mindful design of the cans, Jasmine wanted the project to maximize its purpose. That Vancouver was suffering a drought crisis made Jasmine want to pursue this project even more. Instead of watering each person’s lawn and wasting valuable water, why couldn’t we all water this plant and receive something in return? Something that everyone can benefit from. That something isn’t just the seed packet. What the WaterMe project strives for is to become a conversation. A topic of discussion in the community. A way for everyone to communicate and get to know each other through the act of caring for one thing as an unity.

WaterMe itself is simple yet beautiful. Composed of three recycled cans, the project was meant be interactive and easy to follow. Each can has a sticker that states its purpose: loveme, pickme, and of course, #waterme. The “loveme” can composes of a couple of cards that were handwritten by Jasmine. The cards are a simple introduction to the project and are simply words of encouragement to support the idea of loving the community. After the project is introduced to the public, the “pickme” can is way for everyone to continue this act of kindness once he or she waters the plant. Inside the “pickme” cans are little packets of cilantro seeds that are ready for distribution. The goal for these packets was for the public to have a chance and grow cilantro on their own. Water the plant and take a seed packet. Last of not least lies the main attraction, the plant itself. Choosing a plant was a big part of the project. It had to be easy to grow, fresh, and beautiful; more importantly, it had to benefit the community and have a purpose. After researching on what plants give off seeds, Jasmine decided that cilantro would be the best plant for this project. Cilantro starts budding within weeks and gives off seed quite quickly.IMG_1817

There are six WaterMe stations set up around Vancouver; however, the most popular one remains in Kerrisdale where the local community is always very supportive for small projects like this. Even though the project is running smoothly right now, there were some stumbling blocks along the way. The whole process of creating this project was very long and tedious in the sense that a lot of little technical things need to be answered. How are people going to hear about this? How many cans should we group together? Should it be hung on a tree or it be set up on a table? Small details like these took up most of the planning process. In the end, it was decided that the project would be hung on trees so that the watering process would benefit both the cilantro and the tree. Despite the questions that never seemed to end, the project continued and prospered. The operation aspect of this project seemed straightforward but the actual process was quite grueling. From drilling to weaving the ropes, Jasmine wanted every WaterMe project to be uniform and captivating.

IMG_4664What is so special about the WaterMe project is it’s social media presence. Although just starting off, the project’s instagram page has already received quite a few followers. With the hastag “waterme” on it’s main can, the project is an invitation for the public to share its interaction with the plant on social media. In fact, it is not only an invitation but also a celebration. A celebration of the community’s unity and participation. Jasmine Teng’s project has transformed from a self-initiated student project to a gift to the community. Jasmine hopes to continue this project and use it as a platform to spread even more awareness in the future. With the project receiving more and more attention, Jasmine is working on spreading this community love outside of Kerrisdale and possible towards the Kitsilano or Dunbar community. The WaterMe project is only the beginning.