Guest Post: West Virginia Project WET Festivals Educate Thousands

By Tomi Bergstrom, West Virginia Project WET Coordinator

More than 150 students learned about water at the St. Albans Water FestivalMore than 150 students learned about water at the St. Albans Water Festival West Virginia Project WET, which is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), has been partnering with schools, utilities, conservation districts, watershed associations and even the Army Corps of Engineers to educate students in a series of water festivals this year. 

In the West Virginia river town of St. Albans, West Virginia Project WET worked with the City of St. Albans to host nearly 150 fifth-grade students at the St. Albans Water Festival. The Youth Environmental Program, Save Our Streams Program, Watershed Assessment Branch, Division of Air Quality, Watershed Improvement Branch, Army Corps of Engineers and WV American Water led hands-on water learning activities, and students had a great day of outside learning.

Nearly 200 fifth-grade students participated in the Wetzel County Water Festival.Nearly 200 fifth-grade students participated in the Wetzel County Water Festival. West Virginia Project WET worked with Wetzel County, which sits along the Ohio River, to host its first-ever Wetzel County Water Festival in cooperation with the Wetzel County Commission and Solid Waste Authority. Nearly 200 fifth-grade students participated in the day of educational fun at the Wetzel County 4-H Camp in New Martinsville. The Division of Forestry, Soil Conservation District, DEP’s Youth Environmental Program, Save Our Stream, Watershed Improvement Branch, Division of Air Quality and Watershed Assessment Branch partners presented 25-minute-long water presentations to the students. Topics included water conservation, stream ecology, water cycle, macroinvertebrates and an acid rain demonstration. The Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority also supplied drinking water to all students at the festival.

More than 100 students at the Morris Creek Water Festival learned about brook trout, water monitoring, the water cycle and much more More than 100 students at the Morris Creek Water Festival learned about brook trout, water monitoring, the water cycle and much more West Virginia Project WET and the Morris Creek Watershed Association (MCWA) joined the Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District, Butterflies by Heather, WV Save Our Streams Program, Youth Environmental Program, and the Division of Air Quality to educate more than 100 fourth- and fifth-grade students at the Morris Creek Water Festival. Students learned about brook trout, water monitoring, acid mine drainage (AMD), stream ecology, monarch’s life cycle, the water cycle and acid rain. A tributary to the Kanawha River, Morris Creek has been impacted by AMD but now supports aquatic life due to the efforts of MCWA. Founded in 2002, the group to date has removed 161.6 tons of solid waste, remediated four AMD sites, conducted a stream bank stabilization project, planted more than 150 trees and reintroduced three species of trout, among other restoration projects.

West Virginia Project WET has been doing festivals for a decade. In 2017, six water festivals reached more 1,350 students, and in 2018, 11 water festival reached more than 2,800 students. The 15 total festivals in 2019 will reach more than 3,400 students!

 

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