Trinidad State News

Students learn through interactive activities at Water Festival

Trinidad Campus / May 14, 2015

“What’s this about today?” Tom Perry, president of the Culebra Range Community Coalition asked a group of nearly 1,300 kindergartners through high school seniors gathered at Trinidad State on Thursday.

“Water!” the students shouted enthusiastically, as they began a full day of water-related activities at the fourth annual Water Festival. Grouped by school and grade, the students rotated through workshops to learn about various water topics, such as water conservation, water quality and water distribution systems, through interactive and fun activities.

With nearly 40 demonstrations, each lasting 20 or 50 minutes, students from Holy Trinity Academy, Eckhart Elementary, Fishers Peak Elementary, Hoehne School, Primero School, Kim School, Trinidad Middle School and area homeschools participated in the festival.

Among their favorite presentations, a few homeschool kids said they most liked the rockets and art. Pressurized water bottle rockets were launched into the air as part of the Trinidad State STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) presentation. In the Art presentation, students were encouraged to think about the impact of water as they drew and cut out paper fish, deer, trees, grass, houses and flowers that were then glued to a large mural depicting the water system and river in Trinidad.

In a new exhibit for this year, entitled “Reptiles, Habitat, Pets,” the presenters—Colorado Gators—showed kids various types of snakes and tortoises, a turtle, bearded dragon and an alligator. Lots of hands were raised for questions about the reptiles. “Can he hurt anyone?” one student asked about the alligator. “Yes,” said Maria Holeso, reptile handler, who mentioned the alligator bit her on the thumb once. At the end of the presentation, students lined up to touch the tortoise.

Another interactive demonstration was adobe brick making presented by Trinidad History Museum. Students dug into a mud mixture of dirt, straw and water with their hands and packed it into adobe block molds. They also used adobe bricks to build a horno, a mud oven for cooking.

Using gummy bears, water, ice cream and chips, Norwest Corporation demonstrated the various layers of the earth, and then showed the impact of contamination using food coloring in the presentation titled “Edible Earth Parfaits.”

“The overall purpose is to try to reconnect kids with the natural environment,” Perry said of the event. “That’s really our mission. We think that youth today are becoming increasingly distant from the environment. So we want to introduce them and get them more acquainted with the natural world and make them more aware of how much water impacts every area of their lives.”

With the focus of Perry’s non-profit work being on youth, education and the environment, the Water Festival “combines the three main elements of our mission,” Perry said.

“Aqua es vida,” is the theme of the event, meaning water is life. The event was funded by the following sponsors: Trinidad State Junior College; Culebra Range Community Coalition; Ned and Betsy Cabot Foundation; Tercio Foundation; Purgatoire Valley Foundation; Lower Arkansas Water Conservation District; Pioneer Natural Resources; XTO Energy; Purgatoire River Water Conservation District; CU/”Learn more about Climate;” Spanish Peaks-Purgatoire River Conservation District; Las Animas County; City of Trinidad; Ed R. Bearden, Insurors; Century Savings and Loan; and Kiwanis.

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