How I Use Project WET: Volunteering to Teach Kids About Water Stewardship

Chuck Barlick is passionate about water. In addition to developing and managing the factory quality control environments for Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, a Nestlé Waters regional spring water brand in Cabazon, California; Chuck makes time to teach kids about water. Next month, he will be helping lead a “Make A Splash” water festival at the Big Bear Discovery Center. Here is how Chuck uses Project WET as a Nestlé Waters Quality Assurance Manager and volunteer:

Chuck Barlick, Arrowhead Mountain Spring WaterBack in 2007 or 2008, I was working in Florida at Zephyrhills, another Nestlé Waters regional spring water brand. We were asked to host a Project WET event for local 4th graders at our spring water source, Crystal Springs. Crystal Springs Preserve has a state-of-the-art education center on subjects like water stewardship and sustainability.

The first year I simply manned one of the stations—"The Incredible Journey", which teaches about the water cycle. I loved watching how much the children enjoyed themselves at the event, so the next year I agreed to be one of the event planners. We expanded to twice as many children the following year.

I remained one of the planners up until 2011 when I relocated with my wife and children to Southern California and Arrowhead. In 2012, Marie Watson, Arrowhead’s Factory Administrator, and I put together a small Project WET event for a local elementary school using the Seeing Watersheds activity to teach about rivers, watersheds and the effects of pollution. It was a smash hit with the kids.

Activities like "The Incredible Journey" and "Seeing Watersheds" work well because they’re NOT just a boring lecture by some nutty professor where the children sit on their hands to keep from fidgeting.  The activities, while delivering an important message about water, have children running and laughing, playing in the sand or making bracelets to take home. To put it simply, the event is fun memorable, and packed with information.

Looking forward, Marie and I have a vision to grow the Arrowhead/Big Bear water festival into one that rivals the Crystal Springs/Zephyrhills festival in Florida in its size, fun and effectiveness in educating future generations.  We’d like to bus in one or two classrooms of fourth graders annually for the event, and they will have fun and learn about how to be better stewards of our natural resources. I see them spreading the word to family and friends, making the event something that each fourth grade class marks on their calendar at the beginning of the school year.

Water is so important to everyone, and the more we know about managing water, the better—not only for today, but for the future.  The partnership between Project WET and NWNA is a great way for us to ensure generations to come will have clean and safe water supplies.

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