Fifth graders from around the area descended on the Trails West YMCA camp for ESU 13’s Water Education for Tomorrow.
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Students weave through a line of their peers during Water Education for Tomorrow on Wednesday at the Trails West YMCA Camp. The students who are seated represented rocks, while those weaving represented a river.
Mitchell Public Schools student Rebeka Hawley learns how to use an irrigation siphon tube from Dave Ostdiek, a communication and technology specialist with UNL’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center, during the Water Education for Tomorrow workshop on Wednesday at the Trails West YMCA Camp.
Bridgeport fifth-grader Jayden Harris-Miller examines a nozzle during Water Education for Tomorrow on Wednesday at the Trails West YMCA camp.
Alex Reyes, a fifth grader from Roosevelt Elementary School, weaves through a line of his classmates as he pretends to be a river and they pretend to be trees during an exercise at Trails West YMCA Camp on Wednesday as part of the Water Education for Tomorrow workshop.
Gary Stone, an extension educator at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, explains how irrigation siphon tubes work to a group of students during Water Education for Tomorrow on Wednesday at the Trails West YMCA Camp.
Dave Christian of the North Platte Natural Resource District demonstrates surface runoff for Roosevelt fifth graders during Water Education for Tomorrow on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Trails West YMCA Camp.
Jayden Mueller celebrates after being able to make water flow from an irrigation siphon tube on Wednesday during Water Education for Tomorrow at the Trails Head YMCA camp.
Jordan Vergil reacts to being splashed while during an irrigation exercise at Water Education for Tomorrow on Wednesday at the Trails West YMCA camp.
Jana Schwartz points to numbers on a board as she asked students how much water is needed for various crops during Water Education for Tomorrow on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Trails West YMCA camp.
Fifth graders from Crawford Public Schools (right) listen as Leann Sato explains common causes of pollution. Sato is the stormwater program specialist at the City of Scottsbluff.
The field day took place on Tuesday, Oct. 8 and Wednesday, Oct. 9 giving more than 340 kids the chance to spend time outside in the sun before the snow fell on Thursday.
A number of stations offered up hands-on learning experiences regarding a number of water and environmental topics.
“I learned how to be safe in the water,” said Ayla Ellis, a fifth grader at Saint Agnes. “I learned not to wear a life jacket that is too big or too small.”
Ellis also learned how to properly paddle a kayak, thanks to Cabela’s event coordinator Janet Lienemann.
“Kids drown every day because they don’t respect the water,” Lienemann said. “It’s important that we teach them to be safe, because things can happen in a second.”
Students got to try their hands at operating a irrigation siphon tube and weaved through each other during an exercise where one group represented the river and another represented rocks during an erosion exercise.
Dave Christian, of the North Platte Natural Resources District, expanded their vocabulary while he educated them on surface runoff.
“I like to teach them new words,” he said. “Like source or tributary or confluence.”
Other topics at the event included aquatic wildlife adaptions, wells, geology and groundwater, storm water, and how water moves through the water cycle.
“We also learned about how we’re polluting water and killing animals,” Matthew Palomo, a Roosevelt fifth grader, said.
Jana Schwartz, an extension assistant at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, said that teaching children about the importance of water early on is vital.
“Our valley’s main resource is agriculture,” she said. “It’s important to understand the role that water plays in that.”
Extension educator Gary Stone added that water is a finite resource and it’s important to know how to protect it and use it wisely.
“If you don’t have water, you don’t have life,” Stone said.
Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at email@example.com.