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Diving into water education

Eleanor Rush students enjoy Make a Splash! Water Festival

Stephen Finn

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The Sun

The Palmyra Cove Nature Park has a message about water conservation, and on Friday, Oct. 5, dozens of volunteers helped bring that message to the fourth graders of Cinnaminson’s Eleanor Rush Intermediate School during their 17th annual Make a Splash! Water Festival.

The festival was the brainchild of Elaine Mendelow, who brought the event to the cove after attending a workshop called Project Wet where she learned of an opportunity for a grant to hold a water festival in the Cinnaminson School District.

The purpose of the festival is to promote awareness, appreciation, knowledge and stewardship of water resources. “The future of our planet depends on water,” said Mendelow.

Palmyra Mayor Michelle Arnold makes it a point to come to the event each year to welcome people to Palmyra and support the educational effort that is the driving force behind the day’s activities.

“I think one of the goals for today is to make the children more aware of the environment and how we have an impact on it and we have a responsibility to protect it. If each one of them comes away learning something about conservation and makes one little change, those little changes will add up and have a positive impact,” said Arnold.

The event was broken into 18 individual stations the students traveled to with their respective groups. There were stations like Wetlands: Nature’s Filter where students learned about the relationship between wetlands and water and the benefits of wetlands for people and wildlife.

At the H2Olympics table, students participated in a number of experiments aimed at investigating two properties of water, adhesion and cohesion. In an experiment demonstrating both of these properties, students watched as water adhered to a piece of string and traveled down into a cup.

“Water is water because of these two properties,” said presenter Michael Silver.

Marc Rogoff is an educator for the state Department of Environmental Protection. His table covered groundwater in New Jersey. Rogoff constructed an intricate model landscape with a cutaway section of earth that showed how water flows underground.

“We want them to understand they all have an impact on the environment, no matter what they do,” said Rogoff. “If they want to learn more sciences that’s wonderful, but the most important thing is to understand that everything makes a difference.”

The 250-acre nature park resides alongside the Delaware River. During the event, student groups were taken to the nearest bank of the river to learn about seining, or fishing with a net. Clyde Croasdale, a teaching assistant at the cove, led the lesson. Students watched as a 30-foot net was cast into the water and brought back in to shore. Any fish that were caught were transferred into nearby buckets and identified by Croasdale.

“It’s to teach them about the quality of the water in the river. The premise is if we catch a lot of fish it means the water is clean enough to support a nice fishery here, said Croasdale. “I hope they take it home with them that through the efforts of a lot of different people the water is getting cleaner.”

To learn more about Project Wet and its mission to spread awareness about the importance of water conservation in communities and around the world, you can visit projectwet.org.


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