Water Festivals Mark Year-Round Commitment to Environmental Education
As the state celebrates Earth Day this week, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is reminding citizens of educational water festival events that take place year-round in cities, towns and schools across Kansas.
“Water festivals provide good environmental education, because they are locally organized, and involve students and citizens in events that address water issues in their communities,” said Amanda Reed, Environmental Scientist with the KDHE Watershed Management Program.
The following water festival events are scheduled to take place soon:
- April 21-25, Kansas City, Kan. – Middle School Science Week, F.L. Schlagle Library, 4501 West Dr., 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (Anne Porter, 913-299-2384)
- April 23, Garden City – Lee Richardson Zoo, 312 E. Finnup Dr. (Andrea Smith, 620-276-1250)
- April 24, Topeka – “History and Environment Fair,” Kansas History Museum, 6425 S.W. 6th Ave., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Judy Boltman, 785-267-5721)
- April 25, Bonner Springs, – “ Wyandotte County Water Rally,” Theodore Naish Scout Reservation, 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Cheri Miller, 913-334-6329)
- April 29, Wichita – “Sedgwick County EARTH,” Sedgwick County Extension Office, 7001 W. 21st St. North, 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Tonya Bronleewe, 316-722-7721)
- May 2, Hays – “Hays Water Festival,” Felton Middle School, 201 W. 29th St., noon – 3 p.m. (Stacie Minson, 785-625-0613)
- May 8, Topeka – KDHE Health and Environmental Fair, Charles Curtis State Office Building, 1000 S.W. Jackson St., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (J.A. Ransom, 785-296-1229)
- May 14, Phillipsburg – “Solomon Valley EARTH” (Carolyn Nichols, 785-346-4706)
- June 20, Overland Park – “Green Scene,” Deanne Rose Children's Farmstead, 138th & Switzer Road, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Lisa Cox, 913-895-6172)
Water festivals are educational, interactive and fun events that promote awareness and appreciation of local water resources and issues. These events typically consist of displays and exhibits where K-12 students and other community members can engage in hands-on learning activities. Some festivals also include service-oriented projects like stream clean-ups or storm drain stenciling, and promote understanding of topics such as the hydrologic cycle, agriculture, water treatment, wastewater and point- and non-point source pollution.
KDHE has helped provide approximately $250,000 in EPA funding for several educational water festivals this year. Some of these funds were also provided to two organizations that can help local communities get started with hosting water festivals:
- The Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE, www.kacee.org/) administers the Statewide Water Celebrations Program to help develop water celebration and festival events to serve the education needs of local school districts or communities.
- Earth Awareness Researcher’s for Tomorrows Habitat (EARTH, www.earthkansas.org/) administers a program that not only provides water festival planning resources, but also begins with getting environmental education curricula into the classroom.