Water Awareness Festival 2009

By Joyce Haynes

The fifth graders of McDonald County were treated to a Water Awareness Festival in Anderson, October 15-16.
Hosted by the University of Missouri Extension Service, Elk River Watershed Improvement Association (ERWIA), Missouri Department of Conservation and the McDonald County Soil and Water Conservation District, the festival focused on teaching the students about watershed stewardship through interactive environmental demonstrations and activities.
"Although this is our fourth year putting on this festival, it has not gotten easier," said festival organizer, John Hobbs. "The mechanics of putting it together are always the same, that aspect never changes. The quality of education is still here as we continue to teach about watershed quality, and the basic principals of the water cycle; things that the kids will remember all of their lives."
Hobbs noted that a new station called Riparian Corridor was added to the rotation, changing the time that the student's spend at each station from 25 minutes to 20 minutes.
Activities and demonstrations included: Ground Water Flow Model, Environmental Landscapes, Building Your own Watershed, Stream Table, Macro Invertebrates Display, Brain Gauge and Riparian Corridor. Many of these stations were taught by volunteers and high school students.
Anderson Elementary students from Vicki Blecka's class were enthusiastic about the festival.
"It's been so much fun, and I've learned a lot of things." said Miless Sams.
"We learned about keeping our watershed clean," said Jimmy Shaw.
"The one that you want to keep clean is the one you live in!"
"I learned how to keep erosion from not happening," said William Donaldson.
After visiting all of the learning stations, the students broke for lunch followed by a review test on the watershed.
The festival ended with a special magic show performed by the Fishin' Magicians, Steve Craig and Amy Short.
"We perform for about 100 water festivals a year throughout the state," said Short. "We are both naturalists and we care very much about water quality."
The Fishin' Magicians reside in Nixa, Mo. and have been performing together for thirteen years.
Judging from the smiles and excitement from their young audience, the Fishin' Magicians helped finalize another successful Water Awareness Festival in McDonald County.