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Draper Fourth-Graders Learn Importance of Clean Water

Jun 09, 2016 09:37AM ● Published by Julie Slama

Willow Springs students learn how water is purified May 4 as part of the Fourth-Grade Water Fair, hosted by Jordan Valley Conservancy District, Water Pro and Draper City. — Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com


Willow Springs fourth-grader Estella Watson liked learning about how Jordan Valley Conservancy District and Water Pro cleaned water.

 “I saw how dirty the water was before and how clean it was afterward,” she said. “I had no idea how badly it was polluted as garbage would get in it. I think if more people knew how they clean it, they’d be more cautious about trash and things getting in the water we use.”

 Jordan Valley Water Quality Coordinator Jon Hilbert said that was one of the goals in having the day — to have students learn how they clean water and realize it is precious.

 “I hope they gained a greater appreciation where drinking water comes from and what goes in to disinfect it and kill bacteria,” he said. “A lot of students are amazed when they see how dirty it is and at the end, how much cleaner they have it.”

 During Water Week in early May, Estella was one of about 950 students from three public schools, two charter schools and one private school in or bordering Draper who attended the Fourth-Grade Water Fair, water education specialist Leighann Gilson said.

 “We pick fourth grade since it ties into their curriculum to study the water cycle and we talk about that, the water shed, water conservation and storm water conservation here,” Gilson said. “A lot of the students share the information with their parents so we’ve learned it’s the best way to reach the community on water education.”

 Before arriving, fourth-grade teachers receive a packet about the fair and subject matter to review with the class. They’re also referred to the online web program available through the American Water Works Association, Gilson said.

 Once students arrive, they are given booklets to complete as they rotate through several stations of demonstrations, hands-on activities, tours of water facilities and more. On May 4, one rotation included Draper Mayor Troy Walker addressing students about the need to keep dogs out of the water shed of Corner Canyon.

 “Our city just passed an ordinance to ban dogs in the water shed area since some people didn’t pick up their dog’s poop in the snow,” Walker said. “When the snow melted, there was so much bacteria that we needed more clean water to dilute it — we ended up using more water and in turn, wasting water. There still are areas for dogs, but not in the water shed.”

 Many of Estella’s classmates were aware of the new city law, but for her, it was the first time she had seen the city’s mayor.

 “It’s cool to see the mayor and learn that he cares about water issues,” she said.

 Classmate Lachlan McKenna said it was the first time he learned about the dog issues in the canyon, as well as other ways to save water and keep it clean.

 “We need to take shorter showers, not have fertilizer or soap wash away [down the drains],” he said. “I learned [road] salt isn’t good either since it can harm living things.”

 The activities and lessons didn’t just end at the water fair; teachers were given booklets for continuing education and discussion in the classroom. Willow Springs teacher Melody Watson ties in drawing the water process and a writing assignment with the water cycle unit.

 “We talked before we came as a review, but now it’s an assignment for these students to teach their families about how they filter water and what we can do to take care of it,” Watson said. “This field trip makes it more fun, with engaging games and hands-on activities as well as a chance to see two different ways that our water is cleaned.”

 Willow Springs parent Julene Judd, who chaperoned a group of students including her son, Kaleb, said that the practical field trip was a valuable lesson.

 “It is nice to know the resources around us and what people do to make it convenient for us to have tap water at our fingertips,” she said. “It’s given us a greater appreciation what we have and what we need to do.”  

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