The Iowa Children’s Water Festival is held annually to increase the awareness that everything we do in our daily lives will in some way impact our environment, with a main focus on Iowa’s water resources. Approximately 2,100 fifth-grade students attended the 15th annual Festival on May 12, at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), traveling from as far away as Council Bluffs, Davenport, and Muscatine.
The Water Festival is purposely designed to teach basic science from a fun, interactive perspective, so the students will want to learn and integrate what they see and hear throughout the day into their daily lives.
Fifth grade students are able to understand water concepts while they are still young enough to form their own value system. Students are scheduled into three classroom presentations, a large game activity, a stage performance, and an exhibit hall. In all they spend approximately 4-5 hours at the Festival. There is also a poetry contest prior to the Festival that allows classes to compete for prizes by writing and submitting a poem around the festival theme.
The Festival would not be possible without contributions from many organizations. The Iowa Association of Water Agencies (IAWA) has oversight responsibility for the festival. However, the Festival is coordinated by a steering committee with members representing IAWA, Des Moines Water Works, DMACC, Iowa Rural Water Association, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, IA Section-American Water Works Association, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the US Department of Agriculture. In addition, each year there are approximately 40 classroom presentations, 20 exhibitors, and 200 volunteers who make the Festival possible. Many local and national organizations contribute generous in-kind donations and monetary donations. The Festival is very grateful for these contributors.
The Festival has been the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, Iowa Academy of Science; Governor’s Iowa Environmental Excellence Award, Special Recognition in Water Quality; Outstanding Water Resources Educator Award, Iowa State University Water Resources Research Institute; and “Ding” Darling Environmental Education Award For Outstanding Environmental Education Program, Iowa Association of Naturalists Iowa Conservation Education Council.
Here are a couple responses from teachers who attended the 2011 Festival:
Sally Oldham, IA Christian Academy: “Our 1st year, how fun, well worth the drive. Great day! Very organized, Thankful for the guides! Wonderful field trip to participate in. Thank you!”
Lindsay Schroeder, Kirkwood Elementary: “So well organized, great volunteers, variety of activities, love the shirts and other ‘stuff’, sure hope we can come back next year! Thank you for doing this! I just can’t put into words how much our students loved the day. Our guide was great!”
Interested in learning how your classroom can participate? Each fall, registration information is sent to all fifth grade teachers in Iowa. Information is also posted on the Festival website, www.iowachildrenswaterfestival.org.