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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

1,000 students gather to flood brains about water

1,000 students gather to flood brains about water

What do you call 1,000 fifth graders at Front Range Community College hosted by the cities of Westminster, Thornton and Northglenn? A water festival! On Thursday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 12 volunteers from the city’s Public Works and Utilities and Community Development Departments gave presentations and provided logistical support for the annual water festival to teach the importance of water to these elementary school residents.

“We’ve been doing this water festival for over 10 years to entertain and engage these students about water,” said Water Resources Specialist Drew Beckwith.

The students rotated amongst 30 stations for about 20 minutes at each station. There were presentations from municipal staff, Adams County, the Denver Zoo, a magician, University of Colorado’s Science Discovery program, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and a guy dressed like a can of oil-based paint.

“One of the activities is run by [Senior Engineer] Megan Orloff and is a water court re-enactment,” said Beckwith. “It was a landmark water appropriation case from 1882 that established who has water rights in a dispute in Colorado. We give the backstory on the case and the students vote on who should win. It’s interactive and engaging for them to argue it out.”

A new presentation given by the city this year showcased the sewer pipe camera drone. Driven from a van and attached via cable, the drone travels along the length of a sewer pipe so the operator can evaluate the pipe’s integrity and plan preventative maintenance.

“City staff really enjoy interacting with the kids during the festival,” said Beckwith. “The teachers plan their curriculum around it. Also, the kids are old enough to grasp abstract concepts about water issues and conservation, and be excited for what the future may bring.”

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