Pope and Stevens County Water Fest a splashing success

September marks when students go back to school and the Pope and Stevens County Soil and Water Conservation District's plan and hold an outdoor Water Fest. This September has proven to be above average for rainfall and did present some logistic challenges. The event went on as planned on Friday the 13th. This year marks the 15th Anniversary of the event which is hosted each year in Pope County at the fairgrounds. The first event was hosted at Barsness Park in Glenwood and was moved to the fairgrounds early on because of the access to buildings in the event of rain. It takes about 30 volunteers and presenters to put on this event for the seven schools and approximately 350 students. This event is hosted each year typically the second Friday after the school year starts.

The Water Fest is for 6th grade students in Pope and Stevens Counties and includes: Minnewaska, Glacial Hills, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Hancock, Morris, Chokio-Alberta, and St. Mary's of Morris. Students rotate on 25-minute increments to eight stations throughout the day. Every student participates in the Minnesota Science Museum station which is an hour long and describes all aspects of water and its importance in our lives. We would also like to thank Pope County Mothers and others for their financial contribution to the Science Museum and all the volunteers for the day. Students explore bubbleology, aquatic intruders, journey of a raindrop, exploring underwater, streams, macro invertebrates, drinking water quality, fish, water treatment, soil erosion, and groundwater.

Many area resource professionals help present these topics to the students including: Pope, Stevens, Douglas, and Grant Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Board of Water and Soil Resources, Sauk River Watershed District, North Fork Crow River Watershed District, Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, Pomme de Terre River Association, Farm Service Agency, Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, University of Minnesota Extension Service, Pope Co. Land and Resource Management, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Pope Douglas Solid Waste.

The event is sponsored by local area organizations and businesses. A thank you to the following for their support of this event: Stevens Co. Environmental Services, Minnewaska Lake Association, Fluegel-Anderson-McLaughlin-Brutlag Chartered, Federated Telephone Co., Lawn and Driveway Service Inc., Stevens Co Medical Center, Dental Depot Inc., Koep's, Agralite Electric Cooperative, Pope Co Ag Society, Glenwood Rotary, Ag Country Farm Credit Alexandria and Morris, RiverWood Bank, Glenwood Fire Department Relief Association, Eco Water Systems, Lakeside LLC., Bremer Bank, Eagle Insurance Agency, Lowry Manufacturing Co., Affordable Floor Covering, Strecker Agency Inc., Mohr Plumbing and Heating, West Central Sanitation, Mark and Kay Blauert, Stevens County Times, Judy and John Dahlseng, Midwest Machinery, and Red Horizon.

We hope that the students learned a lot and feel inspired on how they can take care of the water in their community. We are looking forward to hosting next year's event and the planning has already started.


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