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Kids Groundwater Festival

Posted: 05/10/2019

Author: Julie Anderson

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Douglas County’s abundant supply of lakes are a visual reminder of the importance of water. But how much do most of us know about the water cycle? Thanks to the annual Kids Groundwater Festival, area 4th graders now know more than most adults.

 “This festival is a terrific opportunity to teach young people about wetlands, glaciers, well drilling, water quality and hydrology,” says Jessica Albertsen, Education Outreach Coordinator for the Douglas County Soil and Water Conservation District. “The students got to play Water Jeopardy or Water Pictionary and take part in Bubbleology, which was making human sized bubbles. The kids thought those activities were very fun!”

The Kids Groundwater Festival is held each year at the Runestone Community Center. There are 20 different learning stations for the students, which come from elementary schools in Douglas County, Parkers Prairie and the West Central Area School District.  They can see and hear how water fits into the hydrologic cycle, its importance to all life, how it relates to other natural resources and how human activities affect water quality and quantity.

This year’s festival, held April 29, included an interactive demonstration by the Science Museum of Minnesota. The demonstration focused on combining oxygen and hydrogen gases, along with how much water the typical person uses and wastes each day. This gave students a real shock as to the size of their water and carbon footprints and provided ways to help reduce it.

Some of the other sessions included: septic systems, how water gets into our homes and businesses, good versus bad water, runoff, aquatic invasive species (AIS) and the water cycle.

“The excitement and enthusiasm really showed in the students’ faces and the amount of energy they had,” said Albertsen. “They know ahead of time what kind of fun is in store for them.”

And while the event is fun, it’s also educational. Each student is given a test before and after the event to help measure the value of the event, and to see what they comprehend from the day. Teachers and staff also have the option to evaluate the day and provide useful feedback. The feedback is reviewed by the planning committee and taken into consideration for the following year’s festival.

The Kids’ Groundwater Festival would not be possible without the help of more than 125 volunteers, and donations from local businesses, community organizations, and local government agencies. For more information about the groundwater festival, or to donate or become a volunteer, contact the Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District.

Douglas County thanks everyone who helped make this event such a success!

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