While Auburn Montgomery students and faculty were away on spring break, nearly 3,000 area fourth-graders converged on AUM’s campus on March 12 and 13 for the 13th annual Montgomery County Water Festival.
Public, private and home-schooled elementary students learned to become better stewards of our most precious resource – water – by participating in a free field trip to the AUM campus. More than 100 volunteers, including high school students from Loveless Academic Magnet Program (LAMP), engaged participants in hands-on activities in educational sessions, including:
Building a mini-filtration system:
Muddy water became cleaner as it passed through gravel, sand and anthracite (coal), funneled through the neck of a soft drink bottle lined with a cotton pad and cotton ball, and dripped through the cheesecloth covered spout into an empty cup.
Creating an edible aquifer:
Students saw how water becomes contaminated in this tasty lesson. Cups were lined with ice (which represented bedrock) and filled with Sprite (representing water in the aquifer). Next, Blue Bell vanilla ice cream was placed on top of the icy drink (soil) and then topped with chocolate syrup (oil), green sprinkles (fertilizer) and red sprinkles (pesticide). Last, Sprite was poured back on top of the concoction, representing rain. The layered sundae became a mixed glob of tasty mush, demonstrating how an aquifer can become polluted.
Crafting water cycle bracelets:
Serving as a take-home message and souvenir, students created bracelets using cord lined with colored beads representing different parts of the water cycle: Precipitation (blue), Infiltration (black), Transpiration (Green), Evaporation (red) and Condensation (white). A fish-shaped bead was added to represent life and serve as a reminder that life cannot exist on Earth without water.
Enjoying a conservation-themed magic show:
Traveling all the way from California, eco-magician Paul Cash and his bunny assistant Glitter had the AUM Athletics Complex rocking to the “Water Cycle Boogie” during The Amazing Water Planet Magic Show. Minds were boggled by disappearing water, Wanda the Rappin’ Waterdrop, and the fact that only one percent of the Earth’s fresh water is available for human consumption.
The Montgomery County Water Festival is hosted annually by AUM’s School of Sciences. Sponsors include:
- Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board
- Montgomery Public Schools
- Sierra Club
- Montgomery County Soil and Water Conservation District
- Alabama Clean Water Partnership
- Alabama Department of Public Health
- Alabama Department of Environmental Management
- City of Montgomery
- Blue Bell Ice Cream
- Jackson Thornton
- Flowers Baker
- Regions Bank
- CH2M Hill
- J & K Materials and Trucking Inc.
Photos by Frank C. Williams