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Last week we had the chance to go to Lost Creek Water Festival. It was a first time event and was so much fun. Held at the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma’s Pow Wow Grounds, they had booths set up with stream life demonstrations, education and information, microinverterbrate collections and more!
Since all the area public schools had already started school, I was a bit worried that it would be full of visiting classes. But it wasn’t! There was only 2 classes there and as we were leaving, one other homeschool family showed up. It was very nice to be able to enjoy the event at our own pace. I expect that this event will grow at rapid speeds and quickly become crowded.
The first booth had several activities. They provided us with bead kits to make bracelets to remind us of the water cycles.
Then we made imprints of fish, frogs and other water creatures, using intricate molds and markers.
After coloring the molds, we spritzed our papers with water ten pressed the molds to the paper. The kids had a ball with this!
The next station was a great visual, for not just the kids, but all of us.
We began with a clean slate. The lady filled the creeks, rivers and streams with water, which all drained into the lake. Then she added some nonpoint source pollutants. We talked about the different types of pollutants, from trash to cow manure, to construction site debris to oil. She sprinkled different seasonings, herbs and candy sprinkles on the land, to represent which kinds of pollutants we might find in the area. Then she spritzed the area with water, to demonstrate how it all flowed into the creeks, streams and rivers and in turn end up in the lakes and other large bodies of water. The lake was a murky brown color, which sadly looked way too much like the lakes in our area.
Next, she added some wetlands (the green felt-type material) to the demonstration and spritzed it again. This time, the wetlands stopped much of the pollution from reaching the water.
It was awesome to see how nature works together to protect our great Earth.
The next station was about water cycles. We talked about how the water that we drink is the same water that the dinosaurs drank. The girls later made the statement that the water that runs through our pipes, also ran through the Minoan’s pipes.
Knowing that we will never have more water, we better understand how important it is to keep our water clean.
This same station had a very informative poster on Nonpoint Source Pollution. The poster was drawn by a student and really helped us understand what Nonpoint Source Pollution is.
A wealth of information was available for us to take home, to study more about pollution and water care.
Next up was the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center station. They had a few water animals for us to pet and the kids especially liked the lizard.
We talked about birds and the unsuspecting things that are a hazard to birds. Glass doors, cell phone towers and fishing line are all very dangerous to birds.
We talked about how a bird relies on its waterproof feathers. My kids (annoying homeschoolers that they are) corrected the lady who said that all birds have waterproof feathers. They informed her that the cormorant doesn’t have waterproof feathers. In fact, the Chinese have long used cormorants to do their fishing, since they dive below the surface to catch fish. 🙂
Next they showed us a feather that is dipped in water and one that was dipped in oil. The feather with oil was so heavy that a bird couldn’t possibly fly. We then used Dawn dish soap to remove the oil. It was neat to see the amount of soap it takes to clean a feather. Trust me, it takes a LOT more soap to clean 1 feather than it does to clean a whole sink of dishes.
Our next station was about the importance of wetlands. The worker instructed the girls to pretend like they are ducks and the tiles are wetlands. He threw the tiles into the grass and they both flapped to a “wetland.” From there, he removed one of the wetlands and threw the other one. Again, they headed towards the “wetland.” This time, there was only room for one “duck.” The other had to keep flying until she finds another wetland.
We discussed how a duck would be exhausted and hungry, while searching for the next wetland. The chances of the duck dying before finding another wetland increases greatly. This makes migration more and more dangerous for ducks.
The next station was all about fish. We looked at several different types of fish. We talked about the differences and how we can identify each fish.
Next up, we talked about erosion and the importance of trees near water. We saw how trees can slow the water down, keep it a cooler temperature, and create a stable environment for the fish and animals living in it.
We also saw how water changes the shape of a creek, depending on how high or low it is and how swiftly it is moving.
We talked about the importance of bridge design and how each bridge works differently. A low-water bridge, with culverts directing the flow of water, can often get congested with debris after a heavy rain. Another down-fall of low water bridges is that they often flood, and the water then breaks the concrete.
Tall bridges are typically a much better option.
When the worker sat up the demonstration, both bridges were crossing the water. In just a few short hours, the water had completely moved the bank. This is a good demonstration on just how powerful water is.
We ventured down to Lost Creek where the ladies from Blue Thumb Education were waiting for us. They were so knowledgeable and friendly!
The ladies cast a large net into the creek and let it collect wildlife for a few minutes. Then, they carried the net to the bank, where the kids were eagerly awaiting.
The ladies worked with the kids and sifted through the contents of the net to find all kinds of invertebrates.
We found crawdads, mayflies, water pennies and more!
The ladies told the girls to grab a large rock and notice how many living creatures are attached to it. They were surprised to find several creatures had made just one rock their home.
They had been keeping a few of their favorite finds in a bucket. The ladies explained how important it is to place a rock in the bucket to make sure the animals are comfortable. They compared a bucket with no rock to the kids coming home to find that their beds and dressers had been removed from their bedrooms. It would be hard to feel “at home” when missing some of the most important things in your environment.
They added a rock and immediately several creatures clung to the rock. It was awesome to see just how much it put the animals at ease.
All in all, it was an amazing day at the Lost Creek Water Festival. I hope they continue to put the festival on for years to come.
I know all 3 of my kids loved it. The proof was in their smiles!