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Kids learn of water’s crucial role for planet

Campers see some exciting wildlife, too

POSTED: July 23, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Sam Wells, 9, takes a look down the creek for the best path for his boat to take during the camp Friday morning at Elachee Nature Center.

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If you ask the camp’s directors, this week, Camp Elachee was all about water.

But if you ask the campers, you might only hear about the snakes, turtles and minnows they saw.

Nine-year-old Tyler Cummings is no exception.

Cummings recalled the week’s events thusly: "I learned about snakes and rivers and how they flow, how rivers flow, and I saw some snakes."

Camp Elachee Director Roanne LaVere fashioned the week’s activities to teach campers, ranging in grade from rising preschoolers to rising fifth-graders, about the intricacies of one of the Earth’s most precious resources: water.

Each day, campers conducted experiments, worked on projects that illustrated the scarcity of drinking water resources and learned the importance of protecting watersheds in order to sustain the living creatures inside them.

"We’re doing everything about water," LaVere said. "From experiments to making clouds — anything to teach the importance of water."

Zach Ayers, 9, soaked up at least some knowledge from the week’s aquatic activities held as part of the camp at Elachee Nature Science Center.

"I learned about the water cycle, where the water from the ocean comes up, and it evaporates with the heat and it turns into clouds," Ayers said.

Elachee’s 102 campers ended Water Wise week with the camp’s annual regatta, racing boats they fashioned themselves from recycled egg cartons, paper plates, water bottles and Popsicle sticks.

Ayers and his friend, Mitchell McEnaney, raced their boat they named "The Rival," a name that reflected each boy’s support of two rival football teams — Georgia and Auburn. Their boat, a barge compared to most of the other paper-plate vessels, did not make it very far in the 50-foot race.

"We’re done. We’re done," McEnaney repeated over and over as "The Rival" stalled halfway through the race course.

Whether their boats sank or sped through the finish line, Elachee campers went home knowing the importance of water conservation this week, and why even the little people are important to the environment.

"(I say) ‘You guys are the future, you guys are going to be making the decisions one day,’" LaVere said.

Water Wise week and the nature center’s other various summer programs for children are also intended to educate campers’ parents and generations to come, LaVere said.

"That’s what we’re doing, we’re planting seeds," LaVere said. "Because sometimes, we (adults) didn’t learn this stuff when we were growing up."



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