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Youth Water Education

Children's Water Festival

L-R (in red Water Festival shirts): Ohio WRC Co-Director, Dr. Linda Weavers, and Associate Director, Zuzana Bohrerova, demonstrate buoyancy. Dr. Tim Wolfe, Stantec, one of the original organizers of the Festival.

May 8th, 2018 approximately 650 fifth-grade students from thirteen different schools across Franklin County attended the 11th 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 and hands-on workshops – and, fun presentations about drinking water, storm water and wastewater.

The events began with half of the students attending five of the sixteen, 15-minute presentations with other half of the students interacted with presenters at three of the sixteen, 25-minute hands-on workshops – learning about the irreplaceable resource of water and its characteristics. The Ohio WRC led one of the 25 minute workshops teaching the attendees about buoyancy and used interactive examples to describe why some things float and some things sink in the water. The Center demonstrated different examples of buoyancy and how it relates to density. Each group was broken into three teams and given the challenge to determine if given items would float or sink based on the principles of buoyancy. Finally, the presentation ended with a quick lesson on paper boat-making followed by a quicker (sometimes) fun competition to sink their paper boats with metal washers. More information.

Determining the GAPS in Youth Water Education in the North Central Region

According to the World Economic Forum, January 2015, “The water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation), and #8 global risk based on likelihood (likelihood of occurring with 10 years).”  Also stated at the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that one in nine people in the world lack access to improved sources of drinking water and one in three lack improved sources of water sanitation.  With this statistic, every year, significant public and private resources are invested in improving water quality, preserving water quantity, and protecting water as a natural resource in the North Central Region and Worldwide.  With water quality and water related issues being a world-wide issue, education of our future leaders is critical.

The goal of this project is to: 1.) determine curriculum being used for youth water education being taught in the North Central Region by land grant universities and partners in the region; 2.) identify curriculum that make youth knowledgeable, passionate and active in water related issues; 3.) identify placed-based education; 4.) find GAPS in program/curriculum either by age, stewardship or engagement.

To attain these goals, currently there are 7 of the 12 North Central Region States that are committed to reach this goal. More information.