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Portland Water Bureau

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Children’s Clean Water Festival - Teaching the Next Generation

Jason Lee Elementary students learn about salmon life cycles. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sandberg. 
Jason Lee Elementary students learn about salmon life cycles. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sandberg.

Each year the Portland Water Bureau co-sponsors the Children’s Clean Water Festival, a one-day environmental education event for 4th and 5th grade students from around the Portland Metro area. This year, the 21st annual Children's Clean Water Festival was held on March 11th at the University of Portland with more than 1,500 children attending. 

The goal of the festival was to teach children that they are capable of having real, long-lasting, positive impacts on water resources, and to equip them with the information they need to do that in a fun and engaging way.

Kids explore a well drilling rig. 
Kids explore a well drilling rig.

Every 25 minutes, class groups moved from one event to another according to their personalized schedule. Classroom presenters, stage shows and exhibitors set up in the morning and classes rotated through their presentations throughout the day.

Staff from the Water Bureau acted as class guides, teaching classes on topics such as groundwater, how to build a water main, water tasting, and coordinating the "Think Like a Fish" booth - a high energy, interactive exhibit that taught kids about the flow, temperature and habitat needs for salmon and steelhead in rivers. 

Jason Lee Elementary students learn about stormwater run off. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sandberg. 
Jason Lee Elementary students learn about stormwater run off. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sandberg.

The Water Efficiency Group in Resource Protection and Planning coordinate the Water Bureau’s participation in the event every year. Other sponsors include the Bureau of Land Management, City of Hillsboro, City of Tigard, Clean Water Services, Oak Lodge Sanitary District, Regional Water Providers Consortium, Rockwood Water People’s Utility District, and the Tualatin Valley Water District.

Terry Black
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