By JEANETTE ROBISON
Water and fish go together.
So it was a natural to link Volant’s Water Festival with the community’s annual trout stocking celebration Saturday.
Carmen Gates, Volant’s secretary/treasurer said the day’s freezing temperatures may have cut down on the number of festival attendees, but those who stepped inside the borough building received a warm welcome from the various community members and volunteers interested in educating the public on the fundamentals of clean water.
New to the event this year was Carol Budanka of the Shenango River Watchers. She explained the organization’s goal is to clean up the Shenango River, adding members hope to make the river a more pleasurable place to be. The group also watches over the Pymatuning Lake watershed.
The Master Well Owner Network volunteers emphasized the importance of protecting a clean water source rather than having to treat one. Jeff Staul, of Volant Water and Sewer, attended as part of the Wellhead Protection Plan.
Joel Jordan, of the Pennsylvania Rural Water Association is also a volunteer in the Master Well Owner Network and works hand-in-hand with the organization to educate the public on the effects of contaminated groundwater.
He had a model on display that used dyes to simulate the poisons or toxins that seep in at ground level. A participant could follow the contamination as it traveled through the layers and into the groundwater.
Megan Gahring, watershed specialist with the Lawrence County Conservation District, shared the enviroscope model of a farmland and used a spray bottle to simulate rain and cocoa that quickly turned into mud. There were farm animals and tractors that youngsters could manipulate.
The displays were aimed at offering lifelong lessons for all ages. In fact, Jordan explained that all the displays and models available at the festival to educate the public are going to be used to teach children in the Wilmington school district.
The hands-on techniques of the teaching tools also gave way to some fun and games. A spinning waterwheel had pictures of products that require the use of certain amounts of water and participants would have to guess at the right amount required.
Gates said her daughter Amari, 9, and friend Morgan Lash, also 9, had fun picking out the questions for the games. “They were surprised to know that the human brain consists of 70 percent water.”
The artwork from the festival became a part of the whole art show on the walls that had been created by the Wilmington sixth-grade art classes.
Gates explained the borough is joining with the school to work on water conservation projects through art and other outreach programs.
“The main goal is to get these kids more involved for the community’s sake,” she said.
Another idea that came straight from the artwork on the wall is the poster that hangs in the building explaining Volant’s local water resources.
This will become part of a permanent display outside the building in a weatherproof shelter. That shelter also will offer visitors and community members brochures defining Volant’s local water resources and will list, in detail, ways to help protect and conserve water for adults along with a more entertaining pamphlet designed specially for children.
By JEANETTE ROBISON
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