Jami Harper Scholarship Program

Groundwater Festival 2020 Scholarship Winner Is… Jacob Jerabek!

The Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival and Jami Harper offer an annual $250 scholarship for students entering a water resources field.

Jami Harper has presented at the Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival since she was a junior at Northwest High School in Grand Island. She created a class called H20Wood Squares based off of the popular game show Hollywood Squares~only her version teaches students about water issues. Due to her success in creating this class and trying to educate 4th and 5th grade students about the importance of our groundwater, she was in the running for the Volvo for Life award.

Jami Harper placed 3rd in the Volvo for Life Contest and $25,000 to give to any educational event she preferred. She selected to give the Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival $10,000 for a scholarship and grant program.

The scholarship program is set up to allow any Nebraska high school student that is pursuing a career in water to apply for a one-time $250.00 scholarship. The recipient is selected by Jami and the Festival Committee.

Miss Harper’s goal is for high school students to be aware that anyone can make a difference in the world.

Scholarship Application:  https://gicf.eformsolutions.com/gicf/applications 

Grant Program

Do you need volunteer credit hours? Do you enjoy teaching? If you answered yes to either question- we have a wonderful opportunity for you!!!

The Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival is being held Tuesday, May 12, 2015 and we are looking for a high school group to present a hands-on class about groundwater to 4th & 5th-grade students from across Nebraska. Supplies needed for the class will be provided through the Jami Harper Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival Grant. If interested in presenting a class or if you need ideas on what you could present, please contact Marcia Lee or Kelly Cole at the Central Platte NRD.


In the fall of 2003, toxic industrial solvents rendered the drinking wells of many of Jami Harper’s neighbors unusable. Jami wanted to prevent such ecological disasters from happening to other people, so she started an educational water protection program dedicated to teaching wise and environmentally sustainable water use practices.

The discovery of the industrial solvents 1,1-dichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene in the wells, presented serious health risks, which Jami’s program helped address. For example, the pollutants are odorless and tasteless, so the families had no idea they had ingested compromised water from the wells. One family’s well had tetrachloroethylene at seventy times the acceptable level. Jami’s educational program not only serves to educate the general public about the ongoing dangers about pollution, but also safe practices in terms of dealing with already compromised water supplies. To enhance her program, she created H2Owood Squares, an educational version of Hollywood Squares, built a life-size game structure, recruited volunteers from nine high schools, and has to date incorporated the presentation as part of her workshops for students and educators. In 2005, Jami enhanced the H2Owood Squares workshops, recruiting local and state celebrities to participate, including Miss Nebraska Teen USA 2005. Jami has made workshop-presentations to attendees from over 100 communities across Nebraska, reaching 500 fourth and fifth-graders, as well as their parents, and teachers. An additional 1500 attendees have gained education in water conservation and recovery via Jami’s specially designed program booth.

Jami designed and oversees the Water Wizard Web site, featuring daily questions and answers about water protection. She has distributed a self-designed, full-color, water protection brochure to youth and adults from across the United States and even to international audiences as well, including Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Her work has garnered interest from numerous luminaries, including General Colin Powell and Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, all of whom recognize the importance and impact of her project.

Jami Harper recognized that the contamination of her neighbors’ wells not only presented a local problem, but also a global one. Water sustains all life on our planet, from our households to the far corners of the earth. Jami formulated an accessible, interesting, and ultimately vitally important educational initiative to teach wise water conservation strategies. In doing so, Jami is an everyday American hero, acting locally while thinking globally in defense of our most precious liquid resource: drinkable water.