22nd Annual Children’s Water Education Festival Kept Dry and Lively
Following a flurry of rainstorms earlier in the month, the 22nd Annual Children’s Water Education Festival hosted nearly 7,000 Orange County students over two days of blue skies and near-perfect temperatures.
The children, in grades 3, 4 and 5, and their more than 1,000 teachers and chaperones enjoyed the free field trip hosted by the Orange County Water District (OCWD), Disneyland Resort, the National Water Research Institute, and the OCWD Groundwater Guardian Team. The event has educated more than 129,000 students since its inception.
Festival educates students about local water issues and other STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) topics and careers. It helps them understand how they can protect water supplies and the environment. These topics are vitally important as California endures cyclical drought and natural resources are depleting. It is essential to invest in educating the next generation of leaders to solve these environmental challenges.
It takes a village to organize and implement this award-winning event. The students were from 79 different Orange County public, private and home schools that represented 25 cities throughout the county. Local sponsors such as, Wells Fargo, along with about 40 other companies, played a huge part in the event’s success. Throughout the two-day event, more than 500 dedicated volunteers helped make it come to life, along with more than 60 public and private organizations that provided interactive educational presentations to the students.
The individuals who lead the presentations are local and global experts. Among this year’s experts were Astrobiologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Kevin Hand, Host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Stephanie Arne and Science Bob, a science teacher, author and regular guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Festival is a highly structured event. Classes rotate every 30 minutes to a different activity, which is taught by a representative from the participating public and private organizations. Each class engages in approximately six activities throughout the day. The curriculum of each activity corresponds with Next Generation Science Standards and is reviewed by the Orange County Department of Education.
The Children’s Water Education Festival takes place, rain or shine, at the University of California, Irvine. This was the sixth year the event was held at UCI and the first time many of these elementary students visited a university campus.