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WaterFest WaterFest Manual


WaterFest Manual


WaterfestHowell County WaterFest is a day of celebration of water with a critical mission. Howell County residents often rely directly on water for income. Cattle ranches, dairy farms, and tourism are common sources of income. The karst topography makes Ozark groundwater especially susceptible to contaminants. Its quality, as well as stream and river quality, is a reflection of wise decisions concerning our water resource.

This water festival has quite a "flow", starting with the collaborative team of educators from Southwest Missouri State University-West Plains, University of Missouri Extension, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Bryant Watershed Education Project. Since 2001, these agencies have collaborated to put together the WaterFest, which includes:

  • College students teach most of the sessions. Teams of 8th graders work with college students to teach one topic, and Missouri Master Naturalists volunteers fill in as needed. Approximately 45 presenters are needed.
  • Approximately 450 students who attend four different water activity sessions. They are accompanied by their classroom teachers and parents.

In our WaterFest design, the college students who lead the sessions are all elementary education students. For many, it is their first introduction to leading students in a hands on science activity. From this initial well supported experience, these students take on a new confidence as beginning teachers to tackle water related science.

Students participate in discovery activities on the following concepts:

  • local groundwater characteristics and susceptibility to pollutants,
  • local stream life and the impact of habitat destruction and altered water chemistry on water quality
  • area weather phenomenon and the water cycle
  • how easily pollution can enter a stream by overland run-off.

As a preparatory activity, each class learns about the watershed their school is in, and during the day they are asked to represent their watershed with banners and cheers.

In 2004, the Howell County WaterFest participated in a minigrant through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, with the purpose of creating a manual for conducting our WaterFest. The purpose was two fold:

  • to document our own work for those who follow the initial team members have a HCWF specific guide.
  • to provide a model for other organizers to utilize in creating or changing their own festival, whether on a county wide scale or in a single school.

This manual is the result. We will up date it as we continue to learn and adapt. We welcome your feedback on either content or format. Let us know about your water festival!


The appendices are separate MS Word docs, making it easy for teachers to pick and choose what they need and modify for their own use.

A. Example Check List

B. Howell County Schools

C. School Invitation to attend WaterFest

D. Teacher Pre-Packet Materials
   1. Information Letter (contents of packet)
   2. Rules for the day
   3. Pre/Post Test questions and answers
   4. Pre/Post Test Score Sheet
   5. Banner contest information
   6. Letter from Bryant Watershed Education Project
   7. Watersheds by School List
   8. Howell County Watersheds Map
   9. Surface Water Pre-activity
   10. Brain Gauge Questions
   11. Karst Pre-activity (Just Shoot it!)
   12. Project WET Activity: Wetland Soils In Living Color
   13. Vocabulary Words
   14. Resource List – Web sites

E. Follow-up Letter to Teachers two weeks prior to Water Fest

F. Presenter Training
   1. Agenda
   2. WaterFest Teaching Tips
   3. Classroom Teacher Assessment of Univ. Student Presenters
   4. Volunteer Record / Time and Attendance Form
   5. Surface Water - Presenter Teaching Materials
   6. Polluted Run-off - Presenter Teaching Materials
   7. Karst - Presenter Teaching Materials
   8. Soils and Erosion – Contact Information

G. Teacher WaterFest Packet (handed out the day of the event)
   1. Teacher WaterFest Evaluation
   2. List of HCWF contributing agencies/sponsors with addresses
   3. Rules for the day

H. WaterFest Group Leader Training

I. Group Leader Checklist to Howell County WaterFest

J. Sample Schedules for WaterFest & WaterFest Room Arrangements

K. Water Ways, Water Wise, song by Floria Parker-Jones

L. Crayfish Cheer

M. WaterFest Closing

N. HCWF 2005 Letterhead & button/T-shirt logo


Funded through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region VII, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, has provided partial funding for this project under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

This minigrant was administered through the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation.