Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Mike Beatty, Commissioner

 

For Immediate Release                CONTACT:     Kimberly King, DCA Communications

Wednesday, March 19, 2008                                 (404) 679-0615

                                                                                    Loretta Brandon, Georgia Southern University

                                                                                    (912) 681-0336

 

Winning Water Festival Encourages Southeast Georgia Students

To Learn About Water Resources

 

Atlanta, GA - Department of Community Affairs (DCA) staffers, Georgia Southern University President Bruce Grube and Keep Georgia Beautiful volunteers welcomed approximately 860 Georgia fourth grade students to the state’s 5th annual Winning Water: Children’s Water Festival. 

Festival activities were held today, Wednesday, March 19, 2007, on the campus of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA.

“Every Georgia community needs access to clean, safe and reliable water resources.  Over the last year, all Georgians have been reminded about the strong link between proper care and management of our water resources and our quality of life,” said DCA Commissioner Mike Beatty. “We learn some of life’s most important lessons when we’re young.  The Children’s Water Festival continues to offer a useful and unique learning experience.   The festival’s creative approach provides a fun way to teach our youngest Georgians about an important issue.”

“Georgia Southern University is a strong supporter of programs that encourage students to stretch their learning limits.  We were pleased to welcome the Winning Water Festival to our campus and the Statesboro community,” said Georgia Southern University President Bruce Grube.  “As residents of one of Georgia’s coastal communities, Statesboro provided an ideal setting to discuss the importance of proper care and management of our water resources.”  

Festival Attendance To Exceed 5K Mark In ‘08

As the Winning Water Festival marked its fifth anniversary, the event also hit a new attendance milestone.

In its first four years, the Winning Water Festival educated approximately 4,700 students at events in Athens, Columbus, Dalton and Macon.  Approximately 860 students participated in today’s event. 

“We are proud that the Children’s Water Festival has been so well received.  In only five years, DCA, its sponsors and our school systems worked to bring this unique learning experience to more than 5,500 eager Georgia fourth graders.  It’s great to reach such an important milestone through such a meaningful program,” added Commissioner Beatty.

Students from a number of southeast Georgia elementary schools were invited to participate.  Participating schools were located within the state’s Lower Savannah and Ogeechee River Basins.  A map of Georgia’s river basins is available on the Georgia Planning website at www.georgiaplanning.com/watertoolkit/Documents/WatershedPlanningTools/MapofGeorgias14RiverBasins.pdf.

Winning Water Festival Model – A Program That Works

Georgia’s Winning Water Festivals are modeled after a similar event launched in 1989 by the Groundwater Foundation.  Based in Nebraska, the Foundation’s Children’s Groundwater Festivals were created to educate children about water through hands-on exercises with water professionals.  The festivals continue today as annual events designed for Nebraska’s fourth and fifth grade students. 

The race-car themed, water education festival employs a fun, interactive learning environment to teach students about ground water, drinking water, surface water and the hydrologic cycle. Upon their arrival at the Georgia Southern University campus, each class of students was greeted by their personal guide.  Volunteer guides took them from classroom to classroom as they participated in activities such as “The Irrigation Station,” “Take A Ride On The Water Cycle” and “Awesome Edible Aquifiers.” 

Each year, Georgia educators and students give the event very high marks.  Stowers Elementary Teacher and 2006 Winning Water Festival attendee Kristin Glenn described the event as “the most organized, educational field trip I have ever attended.”  Added Ms. Glenn, “Thank you for letting our school attend.  Our students and myself learned so many new ways to take care of our water.  The students really understood the presentations and they were geared towards their learning level.  Once again, thank you so much it was a wonderful, educational day.” 

“The positive feedback we hear from educators, students and parents confirms that the festival works.  Although it’s day away from school, it’s not a day away from learning.  Teaching and encouraging our youngest Georgians to learn about our water resources establishes a framework for a Georgia that will be clean, green and growing for years to come,” added Commissioner Beatty.

Partners Help The Festival Earn An A+

“DCA appreciates Georgia Southern University’s hospitality and our partnership with the school systems, sponsors and other organizations that have worked hard to make the 2008 Winning Water Festival a success.  Working together, we presented another enjoyable learning opportunity for Georgia’s students,” concluded Commissioner Beatty.

Major event sponsors included AmeriCorps, Coastal Rivers Water Planning Policy Center, Environmental Protection Agency – Region IV,  Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, Georgia Conservancy, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Power, Georgia Project WET (Water Exploration for Teachers), Georgia Southern University, GYSTC, Keep Bulloch Beautiful, Keep Columbia County Beautiful, Keep Effingham Beautiful, Keep Ft. Stewart/ Hunter Army Airfield Beautiful Beautiful, Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation, Keep Liberty Beautiful, Keep Savannah Beautiful, Keep Screven Beautiful, Ogeechee Technical College, Statesboro Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, University of Georgia, U.S. Army Corps of Engieers and the Water Systems Council.

For more information about DCA’s Winning Water: Children’s Water Festival, please visit www.winningwater.org.

 

About DCA:  The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) was created in 1977 to serve as an advocate for local governments.  As outlined in its mission statement, DCA seeks opportunities that support "partnering with communities to help create a climate of success for Georgia's families and businesses.”  DCA operates a host of state and federal grant programs; serves as the state's lead agency in housing finance and development; promulgates building codes to be adopted by local governments; provides comprehensive planning, technical and research assistance to local governments; and serves as the lead agency for the state's solid waste reduction efforts.  For more information about DCA, please visit http://www.dca.state.ga.us.

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