Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Delaware students “Make a Splash”
and learn about protecting water resources
DOVER, Del. (April 3, 2012) – Almost 700 fourth grade students from seven elementary schools participated in today’s “Make a Splash” festival, an event designed to engage and educate students on the diversity of estuary life and importance of Delaware’s water resources. The St. Jones Reserve, a component of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Division of Historic and Cultural Affairs, John Dickinson Plantation near Dover provided wonderful locations for the students to explore past and present water resource issues.
“Delaware estuaries are natural treasures that need our protection,” said Jennifer Holmes, education coordinator with DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs. “This water festival provided hands-on activities to get students excited about protecting the health of our estuaries and encouraged them to be good stewards of our precious water resources.”
Students visited twenty-seven stations with activities and demonstrations on Delaware’s water resources and their historical and current uses. At a station called “macro-invertebrate mayhem,” students learned how insects are used as indicators of water quality and the health of steams and ponds. At other activity stations, students explored Delaware’s native waters, horseshoe crabs, estuaries, our watersheds, and the historical importance of water.
Christy Schulze’s class from South Dover Elementary visited “Little Key,” a replica of a ship’s boat or shallop that would have been carried aboard the Kalmar Nyckel on her voyage to settle New Sweden, what is now Wilmington. Students watched as Bill Hutchison, museum educator for the Kalmar Nyckel, demonstrated how a ship’s cannon was fired and explained what life was like aboard a 17th century sailing vessel.
“South Dover Elementary uses “Land and Water” as one of our science kits to help educate students about the value of water and the land – and the importance of protecting both,” said Ms. Schulze. “This festival expands on our curriculum and makes real world connections for our students. My students are learning to be active participants in protecting our environment.”
Autumn Legar, a student from North Smyrna Elementary School, was especially interested in “Incredible Journey,” an activity that explored how water moves through the water cycle. “I learned that water can come from many places – like clouds, glaciers, the ocean, animals, plants and ground water,” said Teresa. “It’s important to know the sources of water, so we can take care of our water and have clean water to drink.”
At another activity station, “Freddie, the Fish,” Kelly Wilson and Melinda Muehlbronner from Kent Conservation District taught students about how pollution and stormwater runoff can harm aquatic life. “Students learned about the harmful effects of water pollution on fish and marine life in our rivers and streams,” said Ms. Wilson. “We challenged students to identify possible solutions to prevent pollution and to take actions every day to protect our waterways,” said Ms. Muehlbronner.
The Delaware “Make a Splash” festival has been educating students and encouraging actions to help protect water resources for eleven years. The 2012 planning committee included representatives from: the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; Delaware Project WET; Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs – John Dickinson Plantation; and Tidewater Utilities.
More than 120 volunteers – educators, scientists, teachers and parents – participated in today’s festival and included staff from: Partnership for the Delaware Estuary; Delaware Department of Agriculture, Project Learning Tree; Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; Delaware Fossil Collector, Bonni Jones; Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve; Delaware Nature Society; Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, John Dickinson Plantation; Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Zwaanendael Museum; Kalmar Nyckel; Kent Conservation District; New Castle Conservation District; Sally Bowman; Sussex Conservation District; Tidewater Utilities; and Delaware Rural Water Association.
Schools that participated included: Odyssey Charter School, Wilmington; Brader Elementary School, Newark; Delaware School for the Deaf, Newark: Brick Mill Elementary School, Middletown; North Smyrna Elementary School, Smyrna; South Dover Elementary School, Dover; and West Seaford Elementary School, Seaford.
To explore the many educational opportunities and workshops offered at DNREC’s Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, contact Jennifer Holmes at 302-739-3436 or visit Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve .
Vol. 42, No. 121.