Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nebraska Children's Groundwater Festival: Part 2

The Education Cooperative had the pleasure, of participating in the 21st annual Children’s Groundwater Festival in Grand Island, Nebraska. We had 1,018 children take part in the event and over 300 volunteers helping in many different ways throughout the day.

The purpose of our trip, from Texas to Nebraska, was to get an inside look at what it takes to host a state wide event. We were also eager to obtain some ideas on some programs or displays that we could implement in our groundwater districts.

The two program coordinators for the festival, Kelly Cole and Marcia Lee, were generous enough to let us be there shadow for the last two days. They showed us the ups and down of hosting and event and even let us participate in the festival by being a guide for one of the 55 classes that attended.

Marcia Lee, Crystal Hogue, Kelly Cole

Our class, Seedling Mile 54h Grade, participated in eight events throughout the day, which included a lunch provided by Pizza Hut. Below is a brief description of the programs/ activities that we were able to observe.

Our first stop was Febold Feboldson, presented by Bob Manley Jr. The students learned the “real history” of groundwater from Nebraska’s own tall tale hero. The students participated in acting out some of the tales and ended the session by singing the Nebraska state song, which was written by Manley’s father.

Next on our list was Rain, Rain, Come My Way, presented by Noyes Art Gallery. The two presenters taught the students how groundwater & conservation facts while making rainsticks. The kids enjoyed showing off their creation by participating in a song and dance.

Hidden household Hazards, presented by the Meridian Enrichment Program, was very informative. The high schools students showed the 4th graders what household items are harmful to groundwater and they learned safe alternatives to those hazardous items.

We then traveled outside to the Exhibit Hall tent. There were 12 different booths for the students to visit. The booths included; face painting, G.P.S. hide and seek, water gun games, and many more. The festival also had their mascot available to greet the kids inside the tent.

Water Rockets, presented by Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, was a favorite among all the students. They were able to contrast their own bottle rocket and had a chance to show off their creation outside. The program showed students how water can be used as a propellant.

The students enjoyed the Raptor connection, presented by Raptor Recovery Nebraska. Students learned how raptors are dependent upon groundwater and wetlands for food, shelter & nesting areas.

Our last stop was at the whooping crane migration & wetland stopovers, presented by Platte River Whopping Crane Trust. Students learned the importance of wetlands to wildlife & endangered species, groundwater quantity & conflicts between wildlife conservation and urban/industrial developments.

The festival was ended by having a pizza party for the volunteers and organizers who helped make the festival such a success. Two awards were given to the volunteers of the year and the organization providing exceptional, long-term service to the Festival.

The Education Cooperative enjoyed getting to know all those who helped with the groundwater festival. We look forward to taking back what we learned in Nebraska to Texas, and teaching our students the importance of water conservation in and around the home. For more information on the Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival visit their website at http://www.cpnrd.org/index.htm.

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