Dickinson county "Save a Drop" Water Fest

Established 2007

General Information: 

School-based, over 200 Dickinson County students (mostly 4th graders, although we do have a couple of 5th grade classes), plus teachers, principals and classroom volunteers.

Next Celebration Date: 
April 24, 2008

Brown Memorial Park, located south of Abilene

VIP tour available?: 
Available with advance registration
Organizer(s): 

Janet Meyer

Dickinson County Dept. of Env. Services
jmeyer@dkcoks.org
785-263-4780

Festival Activities: 

Edible Aquifers, Environmental Forensics, Enviroscapes Hazardous Waste & Watershed, Gooey Garbage, The Long Haul, Mudscape, Native American Drum/Dance Program; Nature Walk, No More Bellyachers, Stream Trailer, Stormwater Obstacle Course, Water Jeopardy, Wonderful Worms, plus a special lunch program

Detailed Festival Information: 

Hosting our own water fest was a goal that we had from the very beginning of our "pre-WRAPS" I&E grant project. Before our first festival, we initially assisted with the Twin Lakes Water Fest, and attended an E.A.R.T.H. event, the Saline County Water Fest and a KACEE workshop to get ideas to incorporate into our own festival. We chose April to tie-in with Earth Day and plunged into project, learning and tweaking as we went.

We wanted an outdoor venue and Brown's Park offered an ideal setting. The adjacent Coronado Boy Scout facilities, along with a Dining Hall in Browns park were reserved as part of our "Plan B" weather back-up plan. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day. We had a good mix of activities, receptive teachers/schools, great presenters, and supportive sponsors who donated everything from printing services, to bottled water for all participants. Each student received a backpack with bottled water, snacks, and giveaways that included items such as: a KIDS booklet, recycled shoelaces, and water drop stress balls. Teachers were given totes with supplies to make their day easier, including sunscreen for their class, wet wipes, Kleenex, water/snacks, and a disposable camera to take pictures during the day. A free lunch was provided for everyone, thanks to a generous discount from our local grocery store, and everyone came together at lunch for a special canine program by Wildlife and Parks.

There were several challenges along the way that we learned from and will tweak for future water fests, along with other ones that just have to be accepted. One of the critiques we heard on evaluations from students and teachers was that they wanted every class to do every activity. Due to scheduling needs of the presenters, etc., this is not something that will happen in future festivals. We spent considerable time ensuring that each class had a good sampling of activities, and tried to fairly distribute the "extra cool" ones. What we will do to address this concern is ask each teacher to choose their top three station requests, and try our best to accommodate that. Advice: 1) Have quick and easy back-up activities, and back-up presenters ready to jump in for late/no-show presenters 2) Ask potential sponsors for *specific* needs, as opposed to just general support (seems to have better results) 3) Consider using a U-Haul type of trailer to transport everything to the festival site we borrowed one and it saved a lot of extra trips.

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