LIHUE – Dropping pennies in glasses of water, running with buckets full of water, smashing clay pots and trying to repair them.
All were activities designed to teach elementary-age Kauai children the value of protecting natural resources at the “Make a Splash with Project WET (Water Education for Teachers),” water festival on Thursday.
More than 700 students were exposed to the activities and a whole battery of learning in the annual event at Pua Loke arboretum.
“They learn how fragile their environment is,” said Eleele Elementary School teacher Laurelle Catbagan. “It helps them appreciate where the water comes from.”
Jennelyn Basilio from Eleele Elementary School recognized the value of water.
“The games teach us how much water we can use and save,” she said.
The bucket of water races between teams from island schools took the students back in time when water wasn’t easily accessed.
“We learned how it felt when people were having to find and carry water for themselves,” Lina Corpuz said.
Her appreciation of today’s water supply grew stronger.
“People shouldn’t be wasting water,” she said.
Hazel Serapio from Eleele saw the value of water in a new light, too.
“We should save water,” Serapio said.
The dynamic hands-on games included the decorating, smashing and repairing attempts by the students of tiny ceramic tops, symbolizing the permanence of environmental damage.
“Once it’s damaged, it’s difficult or impossible to put it back to what it originally was after a tsunami, hurricane or oil spill.” Catbagan said.
Lisa Ann Capozzi, a features and education reporter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org