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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : Delaware students ‘Make a Splash’ and learn about protecting water resources

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

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

DOVER (March 31, 2015) – More than 650 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 students with real life examples of how past water uses affect our water today and how current uses will affect our water in the future,” said Maggie Pletta, education coordinator with DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs. “The hands-on activities and demonstrations were designed to ignite interest, increase knowledge, and encourage the next generation of Delaware’s water stewards.”

Students visited 26 activity stations dedicated to the historical and current uses of Delaware’s water resources. At a station called The Incredible Journey, students learned how water moves through the water cycle and that only a small amount of water is actually available for human use on earth. At other stations, students explored The Power of Water, macro-invertebrates, water pollution and solutions, Delaware’s wetlands and mosquitoes, the uses of water in colonial cooking, water concentration, historical travel on the St. Jones, and hurricanes, just to name a few.

“This is a really good event, and it’s very engaging for our students,” said Tina Metcalfe, a fourth grade teacher at South Dover Elementary, noting the connection between water use today and in the past eras is especially interesting.

“We’re learning about water and how it was used in history,” added fourth grader Madison Butler. “And we’re learning that water is in a lot of things – clouds, animals, lakes, streams, soil and air.”

At the historic beverage station, Barbara Carrow, John Dickinson Plantation staff member, demonstrated how to make a variety of 18th century beverages using water. “Students learned how important water was during the 18th century and that it was used for drinking, growing crops and transportation on the John Dickinson Plantation. We wanted students to realize and understand how important water is in their everyday lives,” said Ms. Carrow.

Delaware’s Make a Splash festival has been educating students and encouraging actions to help protect water resources for 16 years. The 2015 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: Allen Frear Elementary, Camden Wyoming; Henry Brader Elementary School, Newark; Lighthouse Christian School, Dagsboro; Old State Elementary School, Townsend; Richard Shields Elementary, Lewes; South Dover Elementary School, Dover; Towne Point Elementary, Dover.

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 & 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. 45, No. 89

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