Freewaters and Therm-a-Rest® Make Positive Impact in Ventura County School Through Water Purification STEM Project

 11th Grade Chemistry, Channel Island High School students, Jeff Calica (front) and Vryann Ponce, Alissa Vestal and Long Phan (back from left to right) performing water purification experiments.

11th Grade Chemistry, Channel Island High School students, Jeff Calica (front) and Vryann Ponce, Alissa Vestal and Long Phan (back from left to right) performing water purification experiments.

Laguna Hills, CA (July 29th, 2014) – Freewaters footwear and Therm-a-Rest® are excited to announce the success of a pilot program they co-funded on water purification and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) lesson plan at Channel Islands High School in California.

By experimenting with a portable SE200 Electrochlorinator provided by Cascade Designs® (parent company of Therm-a-Rest), 11th grade chemistry students went through a scientific and entrepreneurial journey that resulted in the design and business case for their own water purification unit. The process included experiments with salt concentrations, chlorine production and dilutions, raw materials selection and product design.

The project was extremely well received by not only students but also by the teachers and administrators who were hungry for creative STEM lesson plans.

The lesson provided real world application, giving students the ability to purify water in the event of a natural disaster and broader lessons about clean drinking water as it related to public health locally and in the developing world. Additionally, executives from Cascade Designs and Freewaters mentored students on career opportunities in science and engineering by giving in-class presentations. “At Therm-a-Rest® we need talented employees with a real world understanding of the science concepts that they learn in school. I was impressed to see students making connections between their lab experiments and product concepts,” said Therm-a-Rest Vice President Doug Jacot.

“We are very proud to be a part of such an innovative educational program here in our home state of California,” states Eli Marmar, Co-Founder of Freewaters footwear. “With climate change and the current drought across the west, water access and water safety are critical issues for the next generation to understand and help solve.”

The lesson plan was co-developed by Dr. Phil Hampton, Chemistry Professor at Cal State University of Channel Islands and Carla Davis, a Channel Islands’ High School Science Teacher. “Seeing the students highly involved in this project has been inspiring,” said Davis. “Several low performing students have reengaged in the class since the start of this experiment and have not only worked hard, but have also performed extremely well.”

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About Freewaters

Freewaters footwear is dedicated to those that seek the freedom of the open road, act as global citizens and dare to chart their own path in life. Each pair helps support clean drinking water projects and comes with a stress-free limited lifetime warranty. Visit to view our complete product line and learn more about our water projects.

About Cascade Designs

Customer-Driven Innovation Since 1972. Cascade Designs, Inc. began over 40 years ago with the simple idea of providing a more comfortable night outdoors. Since then, we have grown to become the parent company of some of the most respected brands in the outdoor industry. Though much has changed with this success, our recipe for achieving it has not. We believe that manufacturing the majority of our gear in our U.S. and European facilities is an essential element in maintaining quality, and that by striving to exceed our customers' expectations of service, we will be successful for many years to come.