Third and fourth graders from schools around the county attended the 24th Kitsap Water Festival on April 16 at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds and Event Center to learn about one of the most vital natural resources on the planet.
Students from Bainbridge Island School District, Bremerton School District, Central Kitsap School District, North Kitsap School District, South Kitsap School District and private schools Crosspoint Academy and Gateway Christian School checked out water exhibits and presentations throughout their three-hour period. The number of students attending was estimated to have been between 900 and 1,100, according to Pat Kirschbaum of the Kitsap Water Festival 2019 Planning Committee.
Exhibits and presentations about groundwater, drinking water, stormwater, water conservation, water safety, marine and aquatic life were on display for the students to observe and learn about. Staff and volunteers from area organizations provided hands-on learning to show students where their water comes from and how their everyday actions affect water quality.
Kirschbaum talked about what she loves most about the annual festival.
“Just having all the kids here and having them excited about learning,” she said. “I love seeing all the community volunteers and the professionals that all come together for the same cause.”
The day consisted of students being divided into groups called hawks, flounders, stoneflies and other animals found in local habitats. Each group had school chaperones, a map and a schedule of two or three 30-minute classroom exhibitions, a 45-minute assembly program and lunch that was provided.
One of the more notable presentations were the fish printings, or Gyotaku, as the Japanese refer to it.
“The idea is that the Japanese use all of the fish, so they don’t stuff it, they take a print of it,” Kirschbaum said of the history of fish printing.
“They’ll take a nice print of the fish that they caught and frame that somewhere. The kids paint the fish and then press the paper on top of it.”
Other entertaining presentations and exhibits at the event included games of underwater tic-tac-toe, facilitated by divers from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and two performances by magician Steffan Soule called Magic of Our Water and A Touch of Magic.
Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org