By MADISSON HEINL
Communications Specialist, Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College
WARSAW — Over 900 students from 39 classrooms in Kosciusko County participated in the Center for Lakes & Streams’ annual Field Days Thursday and Friday, Sept. 24 and 25 at Lucerne Park. The Center for Lakes & Streams partnered with local volunteers, local DNR officers, and Grace College elementary education students to make the event a success.
This year’s Field Day event was organized by Caitlin Yoder, education coordinator for the Center for Lakes & Streams. Fourth graders from local elementary schools including Akron, Claypool, Eisenhower, Harrison, Jefferson, Leesburg, Lincoln, Milford, North Webster, Sacred Heart, Syracuse, Warsaw Christian, Washington STEM Academy and homeschool groups were in attendance over the two-day event.
Field Days were open to fourth grade classrooms in Kosciusko County and provided attending students with a day of lake fun and education. Throughout the day, fourth graders rotated through stations at which they performed water testing, built their own mini-watersheds, competed in a water conservation exercise, completed a water-themed craft, and even went fishing in Pike Lake.
While over 100 lakes are located in Kosciusko County, this was the first time many of the students who attended have interacted with a local lake. For Natalie Biggerstaff, fourth grade teacher at Harrison Elementary, this is her second year of participating in Field Day. She explained, “I think this is a neat experience because it gives students an opportunity to be active. A lot of these students live in and around the lakes and don’t know anything about them … The excitement of it is great!”
Kendel, a homeschool student who attended the lake field day on Thursday, said she most enjoyed the art stations, in which students painted pictures with watercolors. Kendel said she thinks it’s important to learn about local lakes “so we preserve the water and don’t use it all up.”
The Center for Lakes & Streams will continue to provide lake education opportunities throughout the 2015-2016 school year. The center has aquariums in 25 local classrooms with fish and plant species like those found in local lakes and streams as part of their Lake in the Classroom program.
Additionally, the center is now selling 2016 Calendars depicting winning pieces of the annual Wonderful Water Student Art Contest. Order forms can be found online at lakes.grace.edu.
Sponsors of the 2015 Field Day event include the City of Warsaw, Culver Family Foundation, DePuy, The Dekko Foundation, Lake Tippecanoe Property Owners, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, The Papers, Warsaw Kiwanis, and Warsaw Optimist Club.
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.