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After a summer in which 49 percent of the contiguous United States experienced moderate to extreme drought conditions, according to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), more than 60,000 school children will participate at 131 sites across the USA in the largest water education event in the country on September 26-27.
The event, known as Make a Splash with Project WET, will make its first "splash" along the banks of the Hudson at the Hudson River Park Trust Pier 80 in New York City on Thursday, September 26, 2002, and continue throughout the rest of the country on Friday, September 27. Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), a nonprofit group based at Montana State University in Bozeman, will be conducting the third annual nationwide festivals to emphasize the importance of water conservation and understanding water resources.
Dennis Nelson, Project WET's founder and executive director, said this year's festivals are particularly timely given the effects of drought conditions throughout much of the United States.
"This year's devastating drought showed, more than ever before, that people need to be well informed about water conservation and education," Nelson said. "What better place to start than with our nation's children? They are the future of the country and it is important for them to understand the value of this invaluable resource."
Established in 1984, Project WET is an international water science and education program dedicated to teaching children around the world about water stewardship and conservation. The Project WET network, which consists of state and local water organizations, conducts these "hands-on" festivals bringing together parents, students, teachers, government officials, and enthusiasts of all kinds for one cause: to raise awareness of the need for water education and draw attention to the vital role this precious resource plays in our everyday lives. The Make a Splash Festivals nationwide are made possible through support from Nestle Waters North America.
Each individual festival will be led by local community leaders who have a passion for water education. In all, more than 70,000 people will participate, including the school children, their teachers and parents, and volunteers from Nestle Waters. They will participate in interactive activities and exhibits that teach water education and encourage conservation.
The learning stations include the "Incredible Journey," a role-playing activity in which children pretend to be water molecules traveling through the water cycle in order to conceptualize the movement of water. Another game called the "Long Haul" allows kids to appreciate and understand the amount of water that they use daily by transporting water from one source to another.
"We are passionate about the importance of water education," said Kim E. Jeffery, president & chief executive officer of Nestle Waters North America. "Only by understanding the importance of water in our daily lives can each of us become a good environmental steward. With concern for future water resources ultimately in all of our hands, Project WET is making important strides to provide the nation's children with the necessary tools and knowledge to protect our most valuable resource."
In addition to the festivals, Project WET encourages teachers and children to engage in an interactive learning experience on the Project WET website -- http://www.projectwet.org/. A complete program including the "Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide" is available to educators through workshops provided by state Project WET coordinators or trained facilitators and offers 90 activities available for use in the classroom. This method enables the lessons learned at the festivals to be reinforced and also offers children who were unable to participate in a festival to learn
Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) is a not-for-profit, international, interdisciplinary, water education program for educators of students age 5 to 18. The program facilitates and promotes awareness, appreciation, knowledge and stewardship of water resources through the development and dissemination of classroom-ready teaching aids and the establishment of national and international Project WET programs. Its mission is to reach children, parents, educators and communities throughout the world with water education.
Nestle Waters North America Inc. (formerly The Perrier Group of America, Inc.) is a leading bottled water company in the U.S. and Canada. Its line of 15 brands is built upon natural spring water products, including Poland Spring from Maine.