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Station 3, The Power of Water: While a group of fourth graders at the Make a Splash Festival shout a countdown, a rocket made from an ordinary plastic bottle with air and water inside gathers pressure for a launch. DNREC photo by Joanna Wilson.

Contact: Melanie Rapp or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Delaware fourth graders ‘Make a Splash’
and learn about protecting water resources

DOVER (April 5, 2016) – More than 720 fourth-grade students from seven elementary schools participated in today’s Make a Splash festival, an event that educates students on the diversity of estuary life and the importance of Delaware’s water resources. The festival was held at the St. Jones Reserve, a component of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs’ John Dickinson Plantation near Dover – wonderful locations for the students to explore past and present water resource issues.

Make a Splash provides the students with hands-on experiences that tie together everything they have learned this school year about land, water and Delaware history,” said Maggie Pletta, education coordinator with DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs. “It is our hope that providing the students with this opportunity will help them connect what they learned in the classroom to real life, and experiencing those connections will ignite a flame in them making the next generation of Delaware’s water resource stewards.” 

Students visited 25 activity stations dedicated to the historical and current uses of Delaware’s water resources. At a station called “The Incredible Journey,” students learned about how water moves through the water cycle and how only a relatively small amount of the world’s water is actually available for human use on the earth. At other stations, they explored marine debris and micro-plastics, water pollution and solutions, Delaware’s wetlands, mosquitoes, the uses of water in colonial cooking, water concentration, historical use of water wheels and groundwater, just to name a few.  Students at Station No. 7 - "The Long Haul" - transporting water by bucket as was done in earlier times in Delaware

“We look forward to this event every year,” said Amy Tierson, a fourth grade teacher at Booker T. Washington Elementary School. “What the students are learning here ties in well with our science unit on land and water, including great visuals explaining the water cycle and an introduction to what an estuary is.”

Mrs. Tierson’s students were especially excited about Station 3, “The Power of Water,” which demonstrated how water and air interact to transform an ordinary plastic bottle into a rocket. “The water rockets are really cool!” said Kamryn Davenport. “I learned how water and air molecules can push out of bottles to make a rocket!” added Kendal Owens.

Delaware’s Make a Splash festival has been educating students and encouraging actions to help protect water resources for 17 years. The 2016 planning committee included representatives from: the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; Delaware Project WET; Delaware Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs’ John Dickinson Plantation; and Tidewater Utilities.

Schools that participated included: Booker T. Washington Elementary , Dover; Brandywine Springs School, Wilmington; Lighthouse Christian School, Dagsboro; Phillis Wheatley Elementary, Bridgeville; Richard Shields Elementary, Lewes; Towne Point Elementary, Dover; and W.B. Simpson Elementary, Camden.

More than 100 volunteers – educators, scientists, teachers and parents – participated in today’s festival and included staff from: Delaware Department of Agriculture; Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve; Delaware Nature Society; Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs; Kent Conservation District; New Castle Conservation District; Sussex Conservation District; Tidewater Utilities; Envirotech Inc.; and Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Office of Drinking Water.

To explore the many educational opportunities and workshops offered at DNREC’s Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, contact Maggie Pletta at 302-739-6377 or visit

This project is part of Delaware’s Children in Nature Initiative, a statewide effort to improve environmental literacy in Delaware, create opportunities for children to participate in enriching outdoor experiences, combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. Delaware’s multi-agency initiative, which partners state and federal agencies with community organizations, is part of the national No Child Left Inside program.  For more information, click Children in Nature.

This project is part of DNREC’s Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase volunteer participation in habitat stewardship projects, enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities, and promote associated environmentally compatible economic development. For more information, click Delaware Bayshore.


Vol. 46, No. 111
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