Students learning water filtration and conservation at annual festival

Mini Groundwater Festival (KHGI)

Hands on experiences make learning more fun and memorable, that's the concept behind the annual Nebraska Children's Groundwater Festival.

A spring snowstorm cancelled the original festival at Central Community College, but changing the location and bringing the sessions to Jefferson and Starr Elementary did not change the lessons learned.

It was all fun and games while young students learned the importance of conserving and protecting our water sources during the Mini Groundwater Festivals.

"The fourth and fifth grade level is an important level to teach students at because that's when they really start understanding their part in the environment and how they can make a difference and how they can help keep water clean and help keep our environment clean," said Marcia Lee, information education specialist with the Central Platte Natural Resources District.

They did this through activities like making water rockets and competing in water drop relay races.

"The steps were representing how like a water droplet can go through a tree and then go through like droplets and then like go through it all again," said Jefferson Elementary student, Emily Castro. "That kind of showed us what that would be like if we were the water drop."

Students had opportunity to use real GPS technology, like the CPNRD uses to manage ground levels.

Thomas –"We had to put coordinates in and it would show up with the GPS and it would point us in the right direction that we're supposed to go," said student Thomas Liegl. "Then we would find kind of like wells but they weren't actually wells, and then we would write down if the water level went up or if it went down from 2012 to 2013."

"It would represent how low you would have to go to get to the ground water," said student Ava Miller.

"It kind of shows how much water people have been using and consuming," added Castro.

However, during this activity, the students were not the only ones learning.

"They catch on to it pretty quick, they're all pretty in tune with technology and so the handhelds are pretty easy for them," said CPNRD GIS analyst, Luke Zakrzewski. "They even taught us a few things. You can take pictures on them and we've found pictures of students from a couple years ago."

The CPNRD said they are happy with how the mini festivals turned out at the elementary schools, but all teachers and students who were invited to attend the 2018 CCC Groundwater Festival are invited to attend the festival next year.

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