Students learn about water at festival

Joy of learning: Cameron Cox and his Clanton Intermediate School classmates enjoy an “edible aquifer” they created Friday during the Water Festival, an event designed to teach children about the importance of keeping water sources clean. Below: The aquifer was made up of gummy bears, ice cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Joy of learning: Cameron Cox and his Clanton Intermediate School classmates enjoy an “edible aquifer” they created Friday during the Water Festival, an event designed to teach children about the importance of keeping water sources clean. Below: The aquifer was made up of gummy bears, ice cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Chilton County fourth graders learned about water Friday in a hands-on way.

About 635 students from all Chilton County schools participated in the second Water Festival, which was held at the Jefferson State Community College Clanton campus.

The annual effort is intended to teach children the importance of keeping water clean by taking steps such as disposing of garbage properly.

“We’re trying to catch them young, show them that they’re the ones that will see the effect–whether you did it or not,” said Glenn Littleton with the Alabama Clean Water Partnership. “We want to get them thinking about these things at an earlier age.”

Sierra Mims (left) and Chyenne Williams fill their water with “contaminants.”

Sierra Mims (left) and Chyenne Williams fill their water with “contaminants.”

About 30 classes rotated around several rooms at Jeff State, as each class participated in three workshops: Water Cycle Bracelet, Edible Aquifer and Fantastic Filtration.

For the water cycle bracelet, students were given beads that represent each step of the cycle.

In the Edible Aquifer session, each student filled a plastic cup with gummy bears to represent an aquifer, ice cream to represent soil and then chocolate sprinkles to represent contaminents. Sprite, representing rain, was poured over the mixture to show the effect precipitation has on transferring contaminents to an aquifer.

Students then acted as a well, inserting a straw down into the aquifer and pulling up water containing the contaminents.

In the Fantastic Filtration session, a cup of water was contaminated with dirt, shredded paper, vinegar and oil. Students then used different filters to try to remove the contaminants from the water.

Clean up: Matthew Simpson, Katon Elijah, Jake Moore and Dylan Giles (above) experiment filtering water during the Water Festival on Friday at the Jefferson State Community College Clanton Campus and the adjacent Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center.

Clean up: Matthew Simpson, Katon Elijah, Jake Moore and Dylan Giles (above) experiment filtering water during the Water Festival on Friday at the Jefferson State Community College Clanton Campus and the adjacent Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center.

Emma Deason, Emma Kate Locke and Lavender Morgan said they enjoyed learning about water outside of their normal classroom setting.

“We got to make things,” Morgan said.

“Our teacher is fun, though,” Deason quickly added.

All the students also attended a magic show in the adjoining Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center auditorium.

The Chilton County Soil and Water Conservation District was the primary sponsor of the event.

Other sponsors included the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Alabama Department of Public Health, Shelby County Environmental Services, the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency director, the Alabama Forestry Commission, Jeff State, Lake Mitchell HOBO, the city of Clanton, CAWACO Resource, Conservation & Development Council, Chilton County Master Gardeners and others.

Four classes of Coosa-Central students participated this year because of the sponsorship of the Coosa County Soil and Water Partnership.

Sixty-seven volunteers helped with the effort, Littleton said.

“It’s built off of a lot of people,” he said.

Kimberly Lee Ann Smith of Jemison won this year’s T-shirt design contest, whose theme was “In the Know about H20.”

Students were given the opportunity to develop a design focused on the Water Festival.

Smith’s winning design was featured on the T-shirts given to all students and volunteers.

The entries were judged by the event’s organizing committee.

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