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FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- It took 18 months for Silas Malers, 12, to build a massive 8 foot by 8 foot LEGO model representing the Hydrologic Cycle and how humans and the environment are affecting it along the way.
"It starts in the mountains where all the water comes from after the snow melts," Silas explained as he showed off his contraption. "It runs through the river and eventually ends up in the canyon where it evaporates."
Silas's model is motorized. A LEGO-bucket lifts balls up to the top of the model and then gravity does the rest. The balls represent flowing water and weave back and forth through different zones, One of the zones is a waste pond.
"Sometimes the cattle's waste will get into the drinking water line and that's not good," Silas said.
His obsession with water comes from his dad. Steve Malers is the CEO of the Open Water Foundation, which shares software and data with the public to solve water issues.
"If a kid can build a complicated model of a complicated issue like water, then adults should be able to talk about it and figure out problems," he said.
Silas and his dad plan to haul the 25-piece model to water conferences across the country, all in the name of education.
"Learn about problems and try to fix them," Silas said. "If you want to make the world a better place the look at what is happening that's making it wrong and if you are doing that, change it."