CCS students learn about water during festival

Published 12:58 pm Saturday, March 18, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Messy mixes and ice cream sundaes were built in the name of learning at the 2017 Water Festival.

The Chilton County Alabama Cooperative Extension office and the Alabama Forestry Commission partnered to educate Chilton County fourth-grade students during the March 17 event.

During the Fantastic Filtration presentation, students mixed dirt, paper and vinegar (which represented oil) with water, then tried to filter it out.

“We are teaching the students how water gets dirty and different pollutants that get into water,” Bruce Springer of the Alabama Forestry Commission. “In this station, they actually do what a water treatment facility would do, running dirty water through different filters to clean it.”

Students compared cups to see what method did the better job.

“We show the kids that even with all of these filters, you can’t get some of these chemicals out, and so at the end of the demonstration, they hopefully learn that there are other things that we have to do to get the chemicals out.”

This includes diluting the water and adding other chemicals to kill the harmful ones.

Springer said he also emphasizes the importance of avoiding putting pollutants in water whenever possible.

The lessons took a yummy turn when students entered the Edible Aquifer presentation. Here Andrew Baril of ACES explained how water from the ground is brought up to water towers by manmade aquifers.

Baril said rain water sinks into the ground down to a certain level, and then stays there.

Pipes and electric pumps are used to get the water out of the ground.

Students created a model aquifer with ice cream, Sprite, candy, and a straw. Baril said the straw represented a metal pipe. Gummy bears represented rocks, sprinkles represented litter and other pollutants. The Sprite represented the water.

“You are putting all of these layers of dirt and rock and everything inside there,” Baril said.

Baril emphasized the importance of not littering because it will be carried away when it rains into nearby rivers, lakes and streams.

“It doesn’t matter where it goes, it is going to wind up in the Alabama River, and it goes into the ocean,” Baril said.

Students also learned about the water cycle while making a bracelet.

The Water Festival was held at the Jefferson State Community College Chilton-Clanton Campus. The college’s student ambassadors assisted in getting CCS students to the correct classrooms.