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12th Annual Lee County Water Festival

Students build a mini-filtration system.The Lee County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) hosted the 12th Annual Lee County Water Festival in Auburn March 19th and 20th. The annual event attracted hundreds of area 4th graders and 100 volunteers. Held in the Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum on the Auburn University campus, this year's festival included lessons on aquifers, the water cycle and water filtration. The festival is catered towards 4th graders because the environment is a large part of their curriculum.

Anna Miller has worked with the festival since 2004 and said, "They learn about their environment, they learn about water and how precious it is. They learn about the water cycle and then make a bracelet and they can go home and share them with their parents. They learn about aquifers where water is stored in the ground and we have another class where the water department comes out and they build mini-filtration systems. They talk about where the water comes from in their part of the county, what lakes it goes through and how it comes through the water system."Student gives edible aquifer a taste test.

After completing the festival’s three lessons, the students were treated to an environmental magic show presented by Paul Cash. “It’s just a great community project,” Miller said.

Student wears water cycle bracelet.The mission of the Lee County Water Festival is to educate students and their families about all aspects of surface water and groundwater and other related natural resources. The festival also serves as a tool to instill a general environmental awareness and stewardship ethic.

A water festival is an interactive educational learning experience consisting of hands on activities for students to learn the role of surface and groundwater in the water cycle; the importance of water to all life; the interdependence of plants, trees, wildlife, soil and water; the effect of human actions on water and all nature; and that all individuals need to act environmentally responsible.

Each year about 30 community members serve on the festival’s planning committee. In addition to planning the festival’s lessons, the committee fundraises for the event so that students can attend at no cost. Sponsors Include: City of Opelika, Smiths Station Water and Sewer Authority, Auburn Water Works Board, Lee County, City of Auburn, Smiths Station, Mid-South RC&D Council, CDG, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Auburn University, Perry Garden Club of Auburn, Sun Self Storage, Beauregard Water Authority, Blue Bell Creameries of Montgomery, AL, Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, Charter Bank, Pilot Club of Lee County, Alabama Power Company, Save Our Saugahatchee (SOS), Alabama Association of Flood Plain Management, Friends of Chewacla & Uphapee Watershed, Keep Opelika Beautiful, Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon, Loachapoka Water, and Alabama Clean Water Partnership.