New Partners and Activities at Annual Water Festivals

Fourth grade students in the North Plains GCD had a blast at the end of April when they attended the 13th annual Save the Planet’s Water Festivals! North Plains GCD staff and partners were in Dumas on April 24, Dalhart on April 25, and Perryton on April 26 to provide a variety of interactive experiences and share the importance of water with students. In addition to classic activities like Aquatic Art, We All Live Downstream, and the grand finale Green Earth Magic Show, the district announced some new presentations that students enjoyed this year!

Shelley Haller, AgriLife Extension program assistant for Ochiltree County, teaches students about cotton.

Shelley Haller, AgriLife Extension program assistant for Ochiltree County, teaches students about cotton.

To enhance students’ appreciation for agricultural uses of water, each festival had an activity presented by a local commodity group partner. Texas Corn Producers Board presented at the Moore County Community Building, Hilmar Cheese presented at the Rita Blanca Coliseum in Dalhart, and Plains Cotton presented at Frank Phillips College in Perryton. Although students attending the water festivals are surrounded by agriculture, they often do not fully understand what happens to the plants that are harvested or cows that are raised in this area. By bringing in these organizations, students were able to enhance their agricultural as well as environmental literacy in one day!

Students at the Dumas water festival play Watería, a game of chance that reinforces water concepts.

Students at the Dumas water festival play Watería, a game of chance that reinforces water concepts.

Another new activity was inspired by Lotería, a popular Mexican game that is similar to bingo. Adding an aquatic twist to this classic game, the district was excited to offer “Watería” to fourth graders this year and hopes to have the lesson available for download on our website soon. Each square on the playing cards contains a picture of a water-related object or concept, along with its name in both Spanish and English. The instructor for Watería defines the water term, or describes the relation of the concept to groundwater, and students place a marker if they have that term on their individual playing card. Watería helps students of any background learn about water resources and have fun doing it!

Bonnie Pendleton, entomology professor at West Texas A&M University, returned to the Dumas water festival to teach students about aquatic insects and how they can indicate water quality. Kevin Pshigoda from Ochiltree County Soil & Water Conservation District and Sonia Burgos from Natural Resources Conservation Service presented Water Bingo at the Perryton festival. We are so appreciative of their support each year!

The district is blessed with amazing partners that volunteer their time and expertise to help the Save the Planet’s Water Festivals go off without a hitch: Amarillo College – Moore County Campus Lions, Dumas High School Leo Club, Frank Phillips College – Allen Campus staff and students, Texas Master Naturalists – Panhandle Chapter, Dalhart High School – Mrs. Holden’s students, and several individual volunteers. Thanks to volunteers, partners, and dedicated staff, fourth grade students learned about water conservation, pollution prevention, aquifers, water user groups, and more.