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Area 4th graders converge for WaterFest 2006

On November 16th and 17th, 2006, 569 area fourth graders attended WaterFest at the First United Methodist Church in West Plains. The eleven schools participating included Willow Springs, West Plains, Mountain View, Fairview, Richards, Glenwood, Junction Hill, Howell Valley, South Fork, Faith Assembly Christian School and Ozark Christian Academy. Students were greeted by a giant crawdad and were taught a song reminding them of how important it is to keep our water clean.

Each classroom brought with them a banner they had made reflecting their school’s watershed address for a contest. Banners were judged on creativity, originality, and knowledge of their watershed, its features, uses of water, and historical events.

Students attended four sessions throughout the day: Surface Water, Karst, Polluted Run-off, and Soils. Students took part in a wide variety of activities, including sampling macroinvertebrates from a mock stream and then calculating water quality based on what they found in the stream. Students played a game which helped them realize the role of vegetation as a protector of stream water quality. In another hands-on activity students learned the sources of polluted run-off and how to reduce its impact on our creeks and rivers. Each session was correlated to the Missouri Grade Level Expectations (GLE’s).

Assisting the students were 15 Missouri State University-West Plains students, including those enrolled as elementary education students from the Bachelor of Science in Education-Elementary completion program offered by MSU-Springfield's Academic Outreach office at MSU-WP. The Ozark Chapter of Master Naturalists volunteers also facilitated WaterFest activities.

Tom Arth, Americorps Stream Team Assistant for the Bryant Watershed Education Project, leads students in the Soils & Erosion activity. Junction Hill 4th graders pass oatmeal in the Polluted Runoff exercise.
Master Naturalist volunteer Dan Leary demonstrating the Surface Water activity. Master Naturalist volunteer Cindy Craig teaches Surface Water.
West Plains elementary students working on the Karst lesson. MDC staffer Larry Lindeman as the Crawdad and BWEP director Lois Reborne lead students in the crawdad cheer.

Each student took a pre test before attending the event. Average pre test scores ranged from 33% to 52%, an overall average of 41%. Pre-event activities, a short video, and lesson plans were provided to each classroom.

A post test was given at the end of each day. Average post test scores ranged from 41% to 74% with an overall average of 60%. Pre to post test scores showed an average increase of 19 percentage points.

At the end of the day students gathered together to review the day’s activities and to learn the winners of the banner contest.


Vocabulary Word List

Polluted Runoff Lesson Plan

This activity uses oatmeal to simulate the effects of runoff in our streams.

WaterFest Manual

MSU-WP student Lacy Lingenfelter teaching the Karst lesson.
MSU-WP students Suzette Moss and Jana Bales teaching the Surface Water lesson.
MSU-WP student Greg Carter passes out oatmeal for the Polluted Runoff lesson.
MSU-WP student Robin Pelc teaching the Polluted Runoff lesson.
  Waterfest is produced by University of Missouri Extension (MUE), Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP), Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), and Bryant Watershed Education Project (BWEP).

Partial funding for Waterfest 2006 is provided through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region VII, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, has provided partial funding for this project under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

cfo logoPartial funding for this program in 2007 was provided by the Coover Regional Grantmaking Program, in partnership with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.