Itasca Youth Water Summit Hosts Over 400 Students
Around 425 students spent the day outdoors learning about various environmental topics from adult volunteers who are knowledgeable in the field of science.
“What we try to really do with the students is we try to suggest to them that we need their help in maintaining the water quality in this particular county where they happen to live,” Itasca Waters President David Lick said.
Students are divided into groups of 12 and rotate through the 45 stations around the Itasca County Fairgrounds. Retired MN DNR Fishery Officer Joe Mix said it’s best to start teaching kids about the importance of water quality and the habitat for aquatic invertebrates in Northern Minnesota.
“Where we’re at here right now is a station where we have aquatic invertebrates and we’re talking to the kids about the importance of habitats for the invertebrates,” Mix said. “How they’re important at the base of the food chain, and they’re indicators of quality of water that we have up here and the food web and why they’re important.”
Fifth graders went through a total of eight stations, and in each station they were taught about something new about the environment and the water.
“There’s some certain things that can pollute water and if that, we’d have to find another earth or another planet with good water,” fifth grader McKenna said.
“Right now, at this station it’s about Water Day and we’re looking at animals and bugs,” fifth grader Jayla said.
“They’re really interested at this age and getting their hands on some of these things that maybe they wouldn’t have taken time to notice on their own, but we’re trying to get them to maybe take notice of that and try and instill that it’s important,” Mix said.
During the Youth Water Summit, fifth graders learned about the damage caused by plastic, aquatic vegetation identification, and siphoning. Lick says that the Youth Water Summit is a community event and that the best way to get people to change their behavior revolving around the environment is to involve students.