Festival teaches students all about water - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Festival teaches students all about water

By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  Many of us take water for granted, but it is a precious resource that is vital to everything from farming to industrial development. The seventh annual Water Festival started at the Flint Riverquarium Wednesday.

This year's theme is "the Many Uses of Water" and the more than 300 students learned some valuable lessons about where this stuff comes from.  

Most people don't think much about how we get water. Just turn on the tap and there it is. But few people know how it gets there. That's where the WaterFest comes in.

"We have about a thousand fourth and fifth graders," said Judy Bowles of Keep Albany-Dougherty  Beautiful.

 This year all of those students are making their way to the Flint Riverquarium in Albany. For the Riverquarium, the chance to host is something that they looked forward to.  "We just think it's a great collaboration. We just think it runs, it's so in line with our mission," Melissa Martin Flint Riverquarium.

Fourth and fifth graders from schools around Dougherty County learned all the ways that water is used, and they learned where all of that water comes from. They even got a lesson on how to catch something that comes from the water rather than the grocery store.

"We've got ten stations set up, we've got all sorts of organizations coming out and presenting about water," said Martin.  But as important as finding out where the water comes from is finding out how to not waste it. 

"Everything that we put in the city on your street, on your curb on the street goes into the catch basin. And the catch basins go directly into the Flint River," said Bowles.

Bowles says that it's important not to waste water, because there's one indisputable fact.  "We have all the water we're ever going to have."

For the teachers, this event is one that is designed to be more than just a chance to get out of the classroom.  "Students love a field trip," said teacher Robert Bowman of Jackson Heights Elementary. "The good thing about this field trip is that it's standards based."

In today's world, learning about the science of how the water gets to where it's going is important. And the students are learning the science in a way that keeps them interested. It's not just the old days of memorizing the hydrologic cycle.

"When I was in school science wasn't all that fun. But now because there's so many lab activities that the kids get to do with science, science scores are improving in Dougherty County and students are more receptive to science," said Bowman.  "My biggest hope is that a child will learn something."

 The folks at Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful hope that the lessons learned here today extend beyond the classroom.  "When you educate a child, that child goes home and talks to mom and dad. They talk to grandma and granddaddy and aunts and uncles. They're our conscience, said Bowles.

And if the adults are successful, these young men and women will be better students in the classroom, and better citizens of the world.

The WaterFest runs through Friday and students from counties all around South Georgia will be making their way here to the Riverquarium to learn the same lessons that the students from Dougherty County Schools learned today.

As Waterfest continues this week, the Flint Riverquarium will remain open to regular visitors.

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