Elementary students enjoy a day on campus for Water Festival

Hundreds of Elementary School children from around the area gathered around Buskirk Field for the Marshall University Water Festival.

Eleven booths were set up with different hands on activities to help educate children on the importance of clean water and the impact it has on our environment.

“We’re teaching children about water so we’re talking about conservation, different things that live in it, what pollution affects it, the tree life cycle and how that uses water, they get to check out live aquatic bugs, we also have snakes, so we have a lot of hands on activities for the kids to do,” said Watershed Basin Coordinator at West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Tomi Bergstrom.

“We try to push certain concepts so they can take those home with them and hopefully when they get to our age they’re doing something awesome to help protect the environment,” Bergstrom said.

When Katie Joe, a fourth grader at Matewan Elementary, was asked about her favorite part of the festival, she ecstatically responded with the water conservation, statistics and what she had learned from one of the activities.

“My favorite part was when we got to go to the water cycle,” Joe said. “I found out there’s only 1 percent of fresh water available for human consumption in the world and 97 percent of water is salt water, I did not know that.”

Trained professionals from the WV Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Forestry, National Park Service, Division of Air Quality, West Virginia American Water, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Marshall University Sustainability Department and the Marshall University Science Department worked together to give the children an large array of information and entertaining activities highlighting the importance of clean water during the festival.

The DEP use project Water Education for Teachers, or WET, activities and ensure these meet the curriculum.

Brianna Paxton can be contacted at [email protected].