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Chisago Lakes Schools

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June 20, 2021

5/28/2021 2:09:00 PM
Water Festival 2021 had whole new look, feel

The Chisago County Children’s Water Festival has always been a model of collaboration bringing together school staff, specialists, volunteers and hundreds of fifth graders for an educational and fun day once a year.  In this era where COVID-19 colors absolutely everything, the collaborative aspect shone  brighter than ever when the Water Festival happened May 20 like a giant Zoom call on the Internet.

Susanna Wilson Witkowski, Monica Kinny, Paul Dennison, representing the county;  along with Sue Humble, Soil and Water Conservation District, and Jack Doepke at the Chisago Lakes Cable T.V. production studios,  created the “kick-off” video that introduces the segments offered in the virtual 2021 Water Festival.

The MN Dept. of Natural Resources and U-of-W River Falls also were credited for helping to create a unique opportunity to spread the word that “Water is Life.”

For almost 20 years Chisago County has held a festival filled with educational stations and hands-on activities instructing fifth graders on watersheds, the make-up of lakes and streams, aquatic creatures, where your water comes from and other associated topics.  It’s been a full day, with a snack and a free T shirt, that’s been held at both Wild Mountain Recreation Area and at Ojiketa Regional Park.

The theme has always been to demonstrate to the youth how their actions can directly affect water quality in our lakes and rivers. Hopefully they come away understanding they can be good stewards of the environment.

The virus shut the event down in 2020.
This year  those involved organized a special Internet based Water Festival.  Wilson Witkowski said she hopes the students do the series or parts of the segments, either on May 20 when the videos became available or,  with the package uploaded, teachers may choose to do the Water Festival throughout the rest of the school year.

Chisago County Environmental Services Director Kurt Schneider remarked that this was “an impressive effort.”  He too hopes to see students benefit from the Internet series over the rest of this school year.

There are 30 presentations on-line and activities are divided into five categories:  Aquatic Invasive Species, Water & Wildlife, Watersheds, Water Quality and Weather.  Links are on the county website at https://mn-chisagocounty.civicplus.com/325/Water-Resource-Envi ronmental-Education.

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