By Steve Drangsholt, WEF Delegate, PNCWA
PNCWA held its inaugural Water Palooza event at William Howard Taft Elementary in Boise, Idaho, during the PNCWA Annual Conference (October 2018). The event was based on a similar event held during the annual WEFTEC conference developed by PNCWA’s Vice President Haley Falconer over ten years ago. The goal of Water Palooza is to engage elementary school students in hands‐on and demonstrative activities that promote the value of water and encourage students to become stewards of their own water environment. At the event, students travel in small groups to various stations to learn about the local water environment, the value of water, initiatives in their community, and how to save water and protect the environment at home.
Taft Elementary was chosen for Water Palooza because we believe in serving everyone in our communities and providing equitable access to STEM education. Taft Elementary serves a diverse population in northern Boise where many refugees who come to the area settle to build a new life. About one-third of the school speaks a limited amount of English and another language at home. Tim Lowe, Principal of the school, along with his teachers and staff, do an incredible job serving this important part of Boise’s community and we are very grateful they gave us a day to spend with the students.
During the event, 17 organizations ranging from municipalities, consultants, non-profits and community groups, volunteered time to host hands-on activities and demonstrate their commitment to water. The organizations who joined PNCWA in the event were:
- Ada County Highway District
- Boise State University – Engineering Department
- Boise Urban Garden School
- Boise Watershed Education Center
- Brown and Caldwell
- Carollo Engineers, Inc.
- City of Meridian (Water and Wastewater)
- HDR Inc.
- Foothills Learning Center
- ID American Water Resources Association
- University of Idaho – Center for Ecohydraulics Research
- U.S. Geological Survey
In addition to these organizations hosting activities during the day, volunteers from Taft Elementary, Timberline High School and the Boise School District helped make the day run smoothly and successfully for the students. This event would not have been possible without the leadership of Haley Falconer, who believes in educating young people on the value of water, creating a model with WEF that can be locally implemented, and sharing her passion for the industry with her community.
A huge "Thank You" to all of the volunteers!
Students Learning About Water!
Pictured left to right: Haley Falconer, VP of PNCWA and past SYPC Chair; Tim Lowe, Principal of William Howard Taft Elementary; & Steve Drangsholt, WEF Delegate, PNCWA