2007-09-12 / Front Page

'Water wise kids'

A boat trip and fishing were among the activities the kids were able to enjoy at Georgia Pacific's Water Ways Festival Friday at Kolomoki Mounds State Park. Two state park pontoon boats were brought to the state park for the festival. A boat trip and fishing were among the activities the kids were able to enjoy at Georgia Pacific's Water Ways Festival Friday at Kolomoki Mounds State Park. Two state park pontoon boats were brought to the state park for the festival. How many gallons of water do you use when you flush a standard toilet? Ask one of the 300 fourth and fifth graders on-hand for the first Georgia-Pacific Water Ways Festival at Kolomoki Mounds State Park Sept. 7; they should know. Georgia-Pacific's objective was to promote water conservation and stewardship - but, they made sure there was lots of fun along the way.

After George Cifelli, vice president and general manager at the paper mill, welcomed the students, Georgia-Pacific's Water Ways Festival kicked off with Early County Elementary School teacher Rene Pullen leading a rousing rendition of the "Water Cycle Song." Watching the teachers hula-hoop to the "Round-and-around" water cycle song lyrics while the children sang and danced was an appropriate opening to a fun-filled learning experience.

The ten learning stations included "H20 and Y-O-U" presented by Alida Ward, Early County Health Department. What Water Festival would be worth its salt without "Water and Recreation?" This learning station was actually two floating labs - pontoon boats launched by park officials on Lake Kolomoki where the students learned to cast and pull in a big fish. Appropriately, Mike Smith, Corps of Engineers, presented an in-depth Water Safety program - just in time.

After discussing "Water and Wildlife" with the group, the Parks of Chehaw representative Clint Murphy brought out an owl and snake for the petting. Not to be outdone, the Flint RiverQuarium had their own corn snake and a great fish story about "Poor Sammy," the hybrid bass that drove home the need to control pollution in our waterways.

And if that was not enough, the Health Department's Environmental engineer Mark Gibbs took care of the students' groundwater education. WALB's Chief Meteorologist Yolanda Amadeo provided a better understanding of the water cycle as it relates to weather - condensation, precipitation, etc.

The "Water Conservation and Stewardship" learning station was a hit with Larry Worsley leading the way. He brought attention to the many ways we waste water - and how we can change those bad habits - turn that water off!

Brian Cresswell and Jeanette Smith, Early County Extension representatives, gave the students insight into how water journeys through plants while Georgia- Pacific environmental engineer Teresa McGee put her papermaking experience to work demonstrating compliance standards and respect for one of our greatest natural resources.

At the end of the day, fifth grade student Kvon Smith said, "I know that I will do better with water because I've learned all the things water does for us."

With that comment, the many volunteers, teachers and presenters who collaborated with Georgia-Pacific to make this day successful had to breathe a collective satisfied sigh and think, "That makes it all worthwhile."

Return to top