Local students learn about water during Project WET festival

Weidman Elementary students (from left) Makaila Guthrie, Damion Helms and RoseMarie Green scoop rocks, pebbles and sand onto a tray during one of the activities at the 16th annual Project WET Make a Splash Water Festival on Thursday at Northend Riverside Park. After each layer materials were placed on the tray, students used spray bottles to see how water can find a way through sand, pebbles and rocks. Project WET volunteer Kyla Ramsey (middle), from Morley Stanwood High School, led the activity. (Pioneer photos/Meghan Gunther-Haas)

BIG RAPIDS — Hundreds of local students spent Thursday enjoying the sunshine and learning about water during the 16th annual Project WET Make a Splash Water Festival at Northend Riverside Park.

Approximately 350 third-grade students from Big Rapids Public Schools, Chippewa Hills School District, Crossroads Charter Academy and Reed City Area Public Schools spent the morning and afternoon participating in the event. This year’s festival focused on earth sciences related to water and used a variety of games and activities to teach the students.

(From left) Cole Whitmore and Kamryn McArthur use spray bottles to demonstrate how rain water washes things such as dirt or trash into nearby bodies of water.

Throughout the day, students split into different groups and visited stations set up in the park to learn about recycling in the Muskegon River Watershed, groundwater, the water cycle and much more.

“This event is really energizing. The kids ask a lot of great questions. They are outside and having a good time,” said Laura Forbes, science outreach facilitator and local Project WET coordinator. “This event brings a lot of groups together to teach the students.”

Volunteers, including from area high schools, the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, Nestle Waters, Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute, Ferris State University and the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District, led the students through the activities.

Project WET is an international water science and education program that is sponsored by contributions from public and private organizations and state sponsors, according to a press release. Thursday’s festival was funded by Nestle Waters.

“It’s nice to have support from Nestle Waters, the MRWA, the MOISD and more,” said State Project WET Coordinator Janet Vail. “The kids are learning great lessons.”

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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