By Donna Thornton
If you have a water-related question, chances are an Etowah County fourth grader can give you an answer after last week’s 13th annual Etowah County Groundwater Festival on the campus of Gadsden State Community College.
The festival brings together fourth-graders from school systems within the county to teach them about water and the need for conserving it.
It is felt that this age group is able to understand groundwater concepts, while still young enough to form their own value system.
Approximately 1,400 students attended the festival to hear fun and innovative messages of environmental stewardship and awareness, Lisa Dover of Keep Etowah Beautiful said in a press release.
“Our mission is to educate students and their families about all aspects of groundwater and other related natural resources (i.e., surface water, wetlands, forestry, wildlife, etc.) and to instill in them a general environmental awareness and stewardship ethic,” Dover said.
During the festival, classes were held in four different buildings on campus, and students were brought together in Wallace Hall for the Fishin’ Magician Show. Steve and Amy – the fishin’ magicians – used magic to reiterate the lessons students learned and to teach new ones about water and conservation.
Every year a logo contest is open to all 4th graders, to design a shirt logo based on the selection committee’s specified theme, this year’s theme; Water, The Original Super Hero.
This year’s winning entry’s design was submitted by Mallory Rich, Southside Elementary School, a student in Beth Knight’s fourth-grade class. Every student, teacher, and volunteer received a free Water Festival t-shirt, printed with the logo Mallory designed.
Mallory received encouragement from her siblings – she has three sisters and one brother – to enter the competition. She said her mom helped her go online to look for information about the contest and inspiration from the Internet.
She received $100 for her winning design – Capt. H20. Mallory said the money will go into her bank account. Her teacher also received $100 to use for her classroom.
The Etowah County Water Festival is sponsored by Gadsden Water Works, City of Gadsden, Keep Etowah Beautiful, Gadsden State Community College, Sheriff Todd Entrekin and Etowah Sheriff’s Department, ADEM, Alabama Power Company, ALFA – Etowah County Farmer’s Federation, Altrusa, Domino’s, Etowah County Soil and Water Conservation, City of Attalla, City of Glencoe, Glencoe Water Works, City of Hokes Bluff, Hokes Bluff Water Works, City of Rainbow City, City of Southside, Southside Water Works, Hampton, House, Jones, Blair, Waldrup and Tucker, Neely Henry Lake Association, Saxon Environmental Services, Inc., USDA-NRCS, Etowah High School, Gadsden City High School, Hokes Bluff High School and South