Celebrating Water

Payson fourth-graders learn about conservation, watersheds, groundwater and water cycle

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Wayne Kirby, a retired SRP employee who volunteers with the Payson water department on conservation measures, explains how runoff works to fourth-grade Payson students who spent Friday getting a first-hand education about water at the event presented by the conservation staff of the Payson Water Department.

All of Payson's fourth grade students were treated to a water fest on Friday -- not a play day in the water, but a multi-faceted, hands-on education about water.

Presented by the conservation staff of the Payson Water Department, Viki Holmes and Brenda Huff, the students participated in four water-related programs.

They learned about conservation, the water cycle, the watershed and groundwater.

"The kids really enjoyed it," Holmes said. "Being hands-on, it was a great way to learn."

Volunteers helped present the program. Wayne Kirby, who retired from Salt River Project, was one of the volunteers working with the watershed program, which included a model.

As part of the water conservation program, the students participated in a relay race.

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Marinna Owens takes part in a bucket race during a water fest event at Green Valley Park.

"Historically, to get water into the home, it had to be hauled, usually by the children," Holmes said. "So the object of the relay was not to see how fast they finished, but with how much water they still had at the end of the race."

The Water Fest is a concept developed by the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center, Holmes said.

It has been presented to schools throughout Arizona since 2001.

Holmes and others observed a Water Fest in Flagstaff last October and started preparing for the event presented Friday.

"It is targeted at fourth grade students and aligned with the educational standards being used in their classes, so the programs work with what the children are learning," Holmes said.

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