Florida water festival attracts 500 kids and almost 100 volunteers

Written by Kelly Ross, an educator at Crystal Springs Preserve in Zephyrhills, Florida

Some 500 students, 25 student volunteers and 60 corporate volunteers took part in this year's festival.Some 500 students, 25 student volunteers and 60 corporate volunteers took part in this year's festival Last week, more than 500 fourth- and fifth-grade students from the Hillsborough River watershed in Florida experienced a full day of free, hands-on activities meant to promote the conservation of water resources. Held at the Crystal Springs Preserve in Zephyrhills, Florida; this was the 9th annual “Make A Splash With Project WET” community water festival sponsored by the Crystal Springs Foundation, a Project WET USA local partner. Crystal Springs aims to provide quality environmental education programs that empower students, parents, and educators in the community to make environmentally conscious decisions.

Along with the fourth- and fifth-grade students who attended, 25 eighth-grade students volunteered as group leaders to help guide and mentor their younger peers. Over 60 community volunteers from local corporations helped facilitate the event. Throughout the day, students rotated through Project WET activities designed to teach about water while having fun. Some of the activities included a tour of the spring, entertaining sessions on water conservation and an interactive journey though the water cycle. This year the event also featured the preserve’s outreach vehicle, WaterVentures—a mobile learning lab inside a 53-foot semi-truck that travels the state of Florida to educate students about water conservation and Florida ecology.

Students participating in the Long Haul activity learned about conserving water.Students participating in the "Long Haul" activity learned about conserving water. According to Karen Pate, the director of the Crystal Springs Foundation, the objective of Make a Splash is to “get kids engaged in learning about water through fun activities.”

“Our focus is on what lives in the water, why water is important to humans, how that has changed historically and how watersheds work,” she added. “The event this year was amazing. Every year it grows and improves! We had lots of smiling faces and the adults always learn something, too. It was a great success!”

Crystal Springs Preserve is a 525-acre sanctuary devoted to environmental education and dedicated to the preservation of Florida’s natural environment. Crystal Springs Preserve features a wealth of wilderness experiences for visitors. Featured within the preserve is Crystal Springs, a Magnitude 2 Spring System, discharging 30 million gallons of water per day. To learn more about Crystal Springs Preserve, visit their website or check them out on Facebook.


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