Fifth graders from across the state are taking part in the 26th annual Iowa Children’s Water Festival on the Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny campus today.
Event coordinator, Kristie Wildung, says it’s a day for the kids to learn about a key resource.
“They’re gonna come and spend a day learning about water, wastewater and the environment and they have a full day with a schedule that we plan out for them to go to small group presentations. They’ll go to large group presentations, they get to do some educational games,” Wildung explains.
She says the festival is an important teaching event. “With the state of Iowa’s guidelines, the fifth-grade class ages is the age that students learn about water the water cycle, and so our goal in bringing them into a full day of activities like this is to help them shape their thoughts and processes behind how they might be able to take care of the water,” Wildung says.
One of the events, for example, is making an “edible aquifer.” “Which is a process we take them through learning about what an aquifer in Iowa looks like –but we build that aquifer in a cup using food products and then they’re able to take that with them and eat it and enjoy it during the rest of the day,” she says.
Wildung says water rights have become the focus of lawsuits in other states — and we are lucky here. “In Iowa, we’re very fortunate. We seem to have almost an endless supply of water. But I think what’s happening is more and more of our water is becoming contaminated where we’re not able to recycle and reuse it,” according to Wildung. “And I always tell the kids when they’re at the event that we’re drinking the same water the dinosaurs drink when they were on Earth.”
She says we have to be able to take care of that water for current and future residents. Some 1,900 5th grade students, teachers, and chaperones from across Iowa will participate in the free festival.