Nearly 1,600 Louisville students, two dozen community organizations and dozens of fish from the Ohio River met at the Louisville Water Company’s 10th Annual Adventures in Water Festival.
Held at Louisville Water Tower Park from October 17 through 19, the festival welcomed fourth- through seventh-grade students from 24 Louisville public and private schools. The students participated in hands-on water-related activities as they rotated through several educational stations provided by Louisville Water’s community partners. The festival also featured the Louisville Water Men’s Tapping Team — which demonstrated how they compete with other teams around the country to tap a pipe as quickly as possible. The students also saw fish in a 2,200-gallon tank, and they had a blast learning how to spray a fire hose.
“I love the way the festival is set up in 20-minute stations,” said Shannon Dauenhauer, fifth grade teacher at St. Martha Catholic School. “It keeps the kids moving, keeps their attention. They get excited about what they are learning about water, and it can generate further discussion back at school. It’s great because students get to hear lectures, see visuals and experience hands-on learning too.”
When Louisville Water held its first festival in 2007, similar events were popular in the western part of the U.S. but usually were held on college campuses, noted Kelley Dearing Smith, Louisville Water’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications. The Adventures in Water Festival has been held at Louisville Water Tower Park every year except 2014, when it was held at Waterfront Park as part of the centennial festival for the Belle of Louisville.
Louisville Water’s festival began as “an extension of our education work in the schools,” said Dearing Smith. “When we started, we wanted the festival to be a small-scale experience on a big piece of property. Small groups traveled to four or five water stations.
“Our message to the community partners was that their experiment or demonstration had to relate to water, and the experience had to be hands-on, interactive, meaningful and relevant to the students.”
Channa Newman, Louisville Water’s Education and Outreach Manager, has guided the festival’s growth. Over the 10 years, it has remained free to schools.
Since 2007, the festival has hosted 195 school groups (about 18,000 students), 50 community partners and more than 700 Ohio River fish.
Community partners participating in the 10th Annual Adventures in Water Festival include the Kentucky Science Center, MSD, WaterStep International, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), Oxmoor Farm, the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources, RiverWorks Discovery, American Commercial Barge Line, the Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville Visual Art, the Louisville Zoo, 4-H, Louisville Fire Department, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, the Kentucky Historical Society, Delande Consulting-Water Colors, the Belle of Louisville, the Kentucky Derby Museum, the Kentucky Division of Water and the Louisville Metro Police Department.
Louisville Water also offers students real-world educational experiences year-round for area groups and schools, using water as a teaching tool. For more information on programs, tours and field trips, visit www.louisvillewatertower.com/education/general-info.
Enjoy a gallery of photos from the festival: