Water Rockets and Gooey Garbage connects kids with natural resources

Students from Hitchcock County try to conserve every drop in a relay race at the Children's Groundwater Festival (NTV News)

Kids learn how precious every drop of water is, at an event that started in central Nebraska and has been replicated the world over.

Kids crawled through tunnels, in a relay race to see who could get the most water from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska.

“Precious water, we want to conserve every drop we have,” Scott Snell said, as he cheered the teams on.

Nebraska sits on a vast underground reservoir that supports life.

Snell, public relations director at the Upper Blue Natural Resources Director said, “We have this wonderful natural resource here in Nebraska and we're supposed to use it, we're encouraged to use it, but want to use it wisely.”

And for the past 29 years, that’s been the message of the Children’s Groundwater Festival.

Jaxon from Hitchcock County said, “We need to keep our water source healthy and use less water for stuff we don't need.”

“We need to save water and not use too much,” his classmate Madison added.

The water-powered event brings in experts, but these aren’t dry lectures.

Festival Coordinator Marcia Lee said, “We try to get students to do technical things but also hands-on fun races, and get to do a stage show, and those all relate back to groundwater.”

Kids are tested before and after the event. Results show kids soak it up, thanks to the hands-on activities like the Drought-Run-About that show how the water that irrigates Nebraska crops gets its start.

Scott Snell said, “Show how hard it is to get a drop of water from the Pacific Ocean and travel across a good portion of the United States to get to Nebraska and there's a lot of users along the way competing for that resource.”

More than 700 kids attended the 29th annual event in Grand Island, with the kids from Hitchcock County traveling three hours one-way for the experience.

They learn why the water they expect to come out when they turn the faucet means so much to so many.

“The commodities here we're able to grow because of irrigated agriculture, it ranks in the top of the United States,” Snell said.

The event has been replicated worldwide, and continues to pour knowledge into young minds.

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary. The event is funded and coordinated by the Central Platte Natural Resources District.

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