• Sumter-Marengo Water Festival scheduled for area schoolchildren

    Posted: October 06, 2011

    Author: Betsy Compton

    The University of West Alabama and the Sumter County Soil & Water Conservation District will host the ninth annual Sumter-Marengo County Water Festival on Tuesday, Oct. 18 on the UWA campus in Livingston.

    The Festival is designed to educate fourth grade students about all aspects of groundwater and other related natural resources like surface waters, wetlands, forestry, wildlife and more.

    In its previous years, the Festival has entertained and educated thousands of area elementary students. Most importantly, coordinators say, is that the event serves to instill in them a general environmental awareness and stewardship ethic.

    “The students learn where their drinking water comes from and learn how to protect it and keep it clean for themselves and future generations,” explained Allen M. Tartt, director of UWA’s Alabama Onsite Wastewater Association training center.

    Fun activities are intermingled into the children’s schedule of classroom sessions, allowing them to participate in water related experiments, activities, and entertainment designed to help them retain the environmental principles of water.

    Educators and water science enthusiasts from around the State will team up for an exciting and interactive day of learning for the students and teachers. The students will participate in hands-on learning activities focusing on the concept of groundwater, the importance of water to all life, the hydrologic cycle, and groundwater’s role in the hydrologic cycle. They will explore the relationships between plants, wildlife, soil, and water, the effect of human actions on water and all nature, and the need for responsible conservation of our natural resources. Three hands-on groundwater activities will help students grasp these concepts.

    The classroom sessions will be followed by The Fishin’ Magicians, a magic show blending entertainment and education, tailored to the age of the students. The Fishin’ Magicians’ blend of fish “shtick” has been featured on ESPN, Bass Pro Shops, and at the BASSMaster Classic Tournament.

    Volunteers from the UWA College of Education, the Sumter and Marengo Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and other local groups will serve as “tour guides” to ferry students from one activity to the next.

    Other partners include the Tombigbee Resource Conservation & Development Council, the Sumter County Extension Service, the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Sumter County Water Authority, the Alabama-Tombigbee Resource Conservation & Development Council, Alabama Power Company, and the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee.

    Each student, volunteer, and teacher will receive a free Water Festival t-shirt. A tee-shirt design contest, open to all of the fourth graders, was conducted prior to the Festival. The winning entry’s design will appear on the printed shirts, and the winning student and their teacher will each receive a cash prize. In addition, each teacher will receive a bag filled with free posters, booklets, and other environmental education materials.

    For more information on the Sumter-Marengo Water Festival, contact Allen M. Tartt at 205-652-3803. 
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