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Kids Teaching Kids

Kids Teaching Kids - The Perfect World of Water Conservation Education

Festival volunteersThe Ark River Water Festival is a yearly event which involves Kearny, Gray, and Finney Counties and educates over 1,500 students in a two-day period. The Lakin High School Environmental Science Class has been a very large part of the water festival for the past four years. As far as water conservation education goes, there is no greater partner than high school teacher, Jennifer Bachman. Without her help and the help of her students as volunteer teachers, it would be difficult to conduct the approximately 30 to 32 class sessions per day.

Jennifer and her student volunteers arrive early in the morning on festival days and are given basic instructions outlining the objectives for the day. These young teachers are then, "on their own." They teach with so much energy and enthusiasm and have a wonderful rapport with their young students. Some of the challenges they face are keeping the topics of water conservation interesting, devising ways to involve students in class sessions, and holding the attention of a young audience. The interesting thing about this collaboration is the simultaneous role assumed by the volunteers as teachers, and then ultimately students, as they gain more knowledge about the very subject they are helping to teach.

High school students help lead activitiesEach year Jennifer encourages her class to share their water festival experiences with fellow students. Their passion for the project generates excitement about the opportunity to be a part of the festival, thus securing teachers for future festivals. Over the years, the students who have volunteered to teach at the Ark River Water Festival have numbered from 12 to 20; however, their accomplishments have never been affected by their numbers. Whether 12 or 20, they give their all to make the event a success year after year.

The Kearny County Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service benefit greatly as a result of the partnership with Jennifer Bachman and her class of volunteers. The Lakin Environmental Science Class is a shining example of how volunteers can and do make a difference.