By MADISSON HEINL
Communications Specialist, Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College
KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — In August, the Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College partnered with other local organizations, including the Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District, Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and local property owners on the annual Warsaw Community High School Water Drop rafting trip.
In preparation for the event, the Center for Lakes & Streams assisted by updating and providing the scientific curriculum taught by raft leaders and chaperones during the trip.
Freshmen that attended learned about healthy lake and stream ecosystems, the importance of keeping our watersheds clean, and even assisted in performing tests on Grassy Creek and Lake Tippecanoe waters. Director of the Kosciusko County SWCD and raft trip coordinator, Darci Zolman, said of the program, “We are so encouraged about the outcomes of our Water Drop program! Connecting these students with the natural resources in their own back yard is just the start of developing a stewardship ethic in our community.”
The Center for Lakes & Streams will continue to work with the Kosciusko County SWCD to further develop the Water Drop curriculum over the next year in preparation for the 2016 trip. Caitlin Yoder, the center’s education coordinator, explained, “The Water Drop rafting trip is a great team-building experience as well as a chance to learn about the environment of Grassy Creek and Lake Tippecanoe. We want to update and reformat the rafting curriculum to make it fun, engaging, and an effective tool for both the teachers and the students.”
Zolman shared Yoder’s excitement in updating the program, “We are excited about building on this foundational knowledge through new and continued interaction with the school. This is truly a community supported program, with many partners, who recognize its value, and we are so thankful for that support,” Zolman stated.
This fall, the Center for Lakes & Streams will organize a Field Day for fourth-grade students in Kosciusko County, launch its 2015-2016 Lake in the Classroom program, and distribute 2016 Calendars including artwork from the winners of the 2015 annual Wonderful Water Student Art Contest.
The Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College conducts applicable research, engages and educates residents, and collaborates with other organizations in efforts to make the lakes and streams of Kosciusko County cleaner. For more information or to support their efforts, visit lakes.grace.edu