Festival focuses on water

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 30, 2001



Staff Writer

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Fourth-graders in Pike County will have the opportunity to learn about one of the world’s most valuable resources ­ water.

Since August, local educators, water system personnel, business people and others have been meeting each month to plan the county’s first Ground Water Festival.

About 400 participants are expected for the event, which will teach students about maintaining the safety of ground water, is scheduled for May 1 on the Troy State University campus.

Mike Mullen, coordinator of the event, said the festival will include hands-on educational activities designed to teach them about "the immense value of their ground

water resources, the vulnerability of those resources to contamination, how important it is to protect and conserve those resources and things they can do to protect them."

To date, the city and county schools, as well as Pike Liberal Arts School, are planning to participate. Mullen said parents who home school their children are also urged to participate.

"The ground water festival is an excellent way to enhance the education of our children about ground water and water resources," Mullen said. "The festivals also make learning about ground water and water resources a lot of fun."

Plans are to have activities, such as making edible aquifer out of ice cream and chocolate sauce, filtration devices and bracelets that will teach the students about the water cycle and its importance to life on the planet.

Over a dozen other counties in Alabama have planned ground water festivals. They were initiated in North Alabama, where the underlying geology puts ground water at higher risk for contamination.

Areas in the southeast area of the state have also planned ground water festivals in areas where sandy soil creates a higher risk of contamination. Houston County had its first festival in October and Geneva, Barbour and Pike are following suit.

"We don’t have the problems like other areas, but we still need to take care of it," Mullen said of ground water.

Although the Alabama Department of Environmental Management provides technical assistance and some of the presenters, the festivals are planned funded and conducted by local citizens, Mullen said.

Local water utilities, agencies like the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Natural Resources and Conservation Service, in other areas, have played a key role in planning and conducting the festivals.

The cost of conducting the festival will be around $5,000.

Businesses or individuals who want to contribute money or goods can contact Harriet Hudson at 807-5279. Anyone who would like to volunteer can contact Stephanie Blackmon at 566-1933.