Last week, over 600 Warsaw High School freshmen traded their books and pencils for life vests and paddles to venture through Grassy Creek as part of the ninth annual “Water Drop.”
The program, which is made possible by the Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), The Watershed Foundation, and Warsaw Community High School, aims to educate students about their watershed, and foster a relationship between them and nature. Many of the students had never been on a boat, and hardly any had ever been though a wetland like Grassy Creek.
Each raft holds up to ten students, an education volunteer and a volunteer from WCHS. Together, the teams make their way down the creek with teamwork and collaboration. During the trip the students conduct experiments to discover the creek’s phosphorus concentration, dissolved oxygen and temperature. Combined, these three indicators tell a story about the health of the water.
The rafting trip ended each day at Pie-Eyed Petey’s Marina, where pontoon boats captained by Lake Tippecanoe Property Owner’s Association members met them. On the ride over to YMCA Camp Crosley Teen Village on Little Tippy, the students also took a Secchi Disk reading to better understand water clarity and sedimentation.
After lunch the day culminated with a watershed activity that demonstrated how small pollutants on land had the potential for impacting water quality. The students built their own community on a tarp and watched as the water picked up pollutants on the land and collected in dirty puddles.
As the student’s day ended, each should have left knowing that they live on a very fragile watershed. It is their responsibility to make Clear Choices for Clean Water in their community, for themselves and future generations. Simple actions such as picking up pet poo and planting native plants in their yards were demonstrated as examples of small choices that have a big impact. For more information about how you can be a good water steward, visit www.Indiana.ClearChoicesCleanWater.org.
More than 70 volunteers and 15 sponsoring organizations came together to support this week-long innovative educational expedition.