Festival focuses on water education

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2005

Fourth graders from across the county converged on the board of education building Friday for a special festival designed to educate children about water.

"It teaches children about water issues in particular and environmental issues in general," said Enid Probst of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management who helped coordinate the event. "We really focus on their water and drinking water inside the county. Our purpose is to give them some kind of environmental stewardship in a fun way."

Fun was the word of the day on Friday. In one room, George Marodis, with the Alabama Rural Water Association, used a unique combination of ice cream, Sprite, and candy sprinkles to demonstrate the pumping of wells. Each child received their own cup of the treat.

"Actually, a lot of it is fun," said Probst. "It's usually in fifth of sixth grade where you may start to struggle in getting the kids to have fun. In fourth grade they're bright and catch on really fast. They're out of school and they're having fun. This is the age group that we found works really well."

Over 220 children attended the event on Friday, which ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Probst said 30 counties in Alabama participate in a water festival-type event. However, this is the first year that Crenshaw County has participated. The program was started in 1997 in Madison County. Probst is state director for the program and said either she or another coordinator comes to a county and helps set-up the festival.

"We get a committee together of local people, because we really want this to be a local program," she said. "I'll start this one and get the committee working through the whole process to host this festival. They learn how to do it and then I move on to another county."

Funds to support the festival are generated locally, said Probst.

Approximately 25 volunteers helped direct the festival.

"About 95 percent of the volunteers are from Crenshaw County," said Probst. "We have a combination of people coming from around the area and locally. We need to keep it local so that next year and the following year there's not much dependence on outside help."