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Children's Water Festival

On May 19th, 2015 approximately 500, fifth-grade students attended the eighth annual Central Ohio Children’s Water Festival at Franklin Park in Columbus, Ohio.  The Festival promotes environmental awareness of our valuable water resources through interactive displays, hands-on activities and fun workshops. The Ohio Water Resources Center led the workshop titled: “Sink or Float-Buoyancy”. The students enjoyed guessing the probabilities that specific objects will sink or float, build their own paper boats and then they tried to sink them using metal washers.

Students exploring buoyancy by trying to sink their paper boats using metal washersStudents exploring buoyancy by trying to sink their paper boats using metal washersThe Festival began and ended with music from DJ Tom Angelo – who helped keep the students entertained in the amphitheater while the busses were unloaded in the morning and loaded in the afternoon.  The morning events began with half of the students attending five (5) of the thirteen, 15-minute presentations - predominately delivered by the Columbus Department of Public Utilities’ (DPU’s) water supply, water and wastewater treatment, and water distribution system and wastewater collection groups. The other half of the students interacted with presenters at three (3) of the thirteen 25-minute, hands-on workshops – learning about the irreplaceable resource of water and how it impacts our lives. Our “Sink or Float-Buoyancy” workshop was part of hands-on workshops and we worked in total with 5 groups of students.

Before lunch the students were formally welcomed to the Central Ohio Children’s Water Festival by Columbus’ Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Columbus City Council members Zach Klein and Eileen Paley, and Division of Water (DOW) Administrator Dr. Rick Westerfield.  Mayor Coleman announced Serafina Rees as the winner of the window cling contest and called Serafina and her teacher to the stage for recognition.The winning window cling created by Serafina Rees of Wickliffe Progressive Elementary.The winning window cling created by Serafina Rees of Wickliffe Progressive Elementary.

Before dispersing for lunch the Columbus pipe-tapping team demonstrated their talents for the students.  Serafina, our window cling winner, assisted as the time keeper – Coach, Pat Crumley and Jill Taptich of DOW motivated the rest of the fifth-grade students to cheer on the team’s Setter - Chris Briggs, Cranker - Dan McClain and Copper - Ricco Ratliff as they raced against the clock to install a successful tap.  Special thanks go to the pipe-tapping set up crew of Mike Spriggs, Dan Mathers and Nick Marsh.

After lunch, the fifth-grade students switched sides of the Franklin Park site so each group had the opportunity to participate in both the 15-minute and 25-minute presentations / hands-on workshops.

This year’s event would not have been possible without financial contributions from the following organizations: AECOM, ARCADIS, Brown & Caldwell, Burgess & Niple, CDM Smith, CH2M, City of Columbus DPU, CT Consultants, DLZ, Dynotech, EMH&T, Hazen & Sawyer, HDR, MS consultants, MWH, OWEA, Pelton Environmental, Ranney Collector Wells, Resource International, Ribway, Stantec, Woolpert and 360 Water.

Thanks to everyone who contributed in some fashion to yet another successful Central Ohio Children’s Water Festival.  A special thanks goes to Columbus DPU Director Greg Davies and DOW Administrator Rick Westerfield whose unwavering support has led to the long-term success of this effective educational event for Franklin County school children.