WOODSTOCK – Woodstock students got a chance to get outside and learn about the local water system Thursday at the annual McHenry County Youth Groundwater Festival.
The program is put on annually by the McHenry County Schools Environmental Education Program in coordination with the McHenry County Planning and Development Department, the McHenry County Department of Health, the McHenry and Lake Soil and Water Conservation District, McHenry County College Sustainability Center, Gewalt Hamilton Associates Inc., the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and Woodstock High School’s environmental science department.
The event aims to educate students on the importance of groundwater conservation.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to learn about what is probably our most precious resource in our county, which is our water,” said Nancy Schietzelt of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County. “We are at risk in our county for losing resources because we have no access to water from anywhere else.”
Water professionals such as stormwater engineers; science, technology, engineering and mathematics educators; and local pollinator groups from environmental education organizations attended the event.
“Water education at every level is so important,” said Kim Hankins of MCC’s Sustainability Center. “One of the reasons we support this is so that when they come to MCC, they can have that background. It’s nice to make these connections at a young age so when they come to MCC they can continue.”
Kristina Hermansson’s sixth-grade Challenge Corps class did a little bit of water research before hitting the fields Thursday, and they were ready to learn more. Students especially appreciated the hands-on approach, some said.
“I like how we can walk around here and be close to nature and see all the animals and things like that,” said Ingrid Gay, 12.
Classmate Adeline Arana, 12, said she also enjoyed the day.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “In the Challenge Corps program we do different activities to challenge ourselves, and this is just another great way to learn something new.”