Thursday, February 9, 2017

BLOG: Have you been to a water festival?

by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

This week I was digging through our photo archive (yes, we still have a print photo archive, complete with negatives!) looking at pictures of the Nebraska Children's Groundwater Festival. It's been about 12 years since The Groundwater Foundation organized this festival (the community of Grand Island has done a fantastic job since taking over the festival, and has made it their own) and while we participate as a presenter every year, we miss out on seeing the impact of the festival as a whole. 

Looking through the pictures reminded me of three things - the fun those kids had learning about groundwater, the effort it takes to put on a festival, and the amazing people we met along the way.

Enjoy this look back. And if you've never been part of a water festival, you're missing out! Consider getting one started in a local school or in your community

Wally and Wanda Water Drop were the festival's mascot in its early years.

Former Nebraska Governor Kay Orr and Groundwater Foundation founder Susan Seacrest. The festival often played host to a number of VIP attendees, including governors, senators, EPA and USGS directors, and local celebrities.

The festival included an exhibit hall, which was a student favorite.

Kids got to learn in a fun, hands-on environment.

A student poster contest was also part of the festival.

Willard Scott, weather guy for the Today show in the 80s/90s, paid a visit to the festival.

GW Gecko became the new mascot of the festival in the early 2000s.

Students participate in a festival "game show" with their peers.

Presenters were happy to wear goofy hats to help kids learn about groundwater!

The relationships with people like former Groundwater Foundation board member Marlene Rasmussen made organizing the festival more meaningful.

Kids just wanna have fun!

Former Governor and Senator Mike Johanns was a frequent festival guest.

Nebraska football legend Tom Osborne, and U.S. Senator at the time, Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy show off their festival t-shirts.

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