Georgia’s Water Festivals are modeled after the Children’s Groundwater Festival sponsored annually since 1989 by the Nebraska-based Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Festival in Nebraska includes an adult track for those wishing to replicate its festival and is known as an international model program of effective hands-on environmental education.
The Water Systems Council, the only national organization solely focused on individual wells and other well-based water systems not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), was instrumental in coordinating this water festival.
Winning Water: The 2004 ACF Children’s Water Festival marked the inaugural year for the Georgia festivals. The 2004 festival was the first in Georgia where students were brought together for an educational experience based on their watershed. 4th grade students from the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint river basins were invited to the campus of Columbus State University for a day of hands-on learning. The festival was attended by approximately 1,300 students and teachers and 250 presenters and volunteers.
Festivals have followed for the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Tennessee at Dalton State College, the Upper Oconee and Upper Savannah at Athens Technical College and the Lower Oconee and Ocmulgee at Central Georgia Technical College. To date, more than 5,000 Georgia children have been educated at the Winning Water Festival. The 2008 Festival is scheduled for the Lower Savannah and OgeecheeBasins and will be held at Georgia Southern University. The following are comments about the festival from some of the participants:
“I had to email you to tell you what a wonderful time we had on Thursday at the Winning Water Festival! It was about the most organized, motivating, and exciting program I’ve seen. Thank you for all your hard work in putting it together, our kids LOVED it!”
-Betsy Handley, Teacher, Burghard Elementary (Macon)
“On behalf of the Fourth Grade at CFES, we had a wonderful time at the water festival! The students went on and on about how much they enjoyed it. What an excellent, enriching educational experience!”
-Jessica Beaver, Teacher, Colham Ferry Elementary (Watkinsville)
“That was the most organized, educational field trip I have ever attended. 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.”
-Kristin R. Glenn, Teacher, Stowers Elementary (Fort Benning)
The 2008 Festival was held at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. Eligible schools and homeschool families from the Lower Savannah and Ogeechee River Basins participated in the event. It was a great success and we thank everyone who participated!
A variety of activities in each festivals focus on four main topics: groundwater, surface water, drinking water, and water quality.
Festival presenters will include water/natural resources experts from universities and colleges, government agencies, environmental organizations and private businesses who will teach children in a fun and interactive atmosphere. Lessons will be taught through many disciplines: math to music, geology to journalism and through entertainment: puppets, magic and storytelling.
School classes will attend the festival in four-hour blocks, which will include classroom sessions, a visit to the Water Jamboree Activity Hall and the Team H20 Pit Stop (a water taste test station) outside displays, performances and games.
Goals of the Water Festival
- Be Fun and Memorable
- Connect Students with Experts
- Bring Education Outside of the Classroom
- Meet a Growing Concern for the Environment
- Forge Lasting Partnerships for Future Festivals
- Connect Upstream and Downstream Water Users
- Make Lasting Water Impact on all those who Attend the Festival
Partners and Sponsors
- Coastal Georgia Community College
- Environmental Protection Agency – Region 4
- Georgia Adopt A Stream
- Georgia Conservancy
- Georgia Department of Community Affairs
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources
- Georgia Forestry Commission
- Georgia Power
- Georgia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers)
- Keep Brunswick Golden Isles Beautiful
- Keep Charlton Beautiful
- Keep Georgia Beautiful
- Keep Waycross/Ware Beautiful
- University of Georgia
- US Army Corps of Engineers
- Water Systems Council
Future Water Festivals
The planning committee is rotating the Festival to other water basins in Georgia. Click here to see all of the water basins of Georgia. If you have an interest in starting a water festival in your basin please continue to watch this site!