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Consider planning one of the following types of special events. Descriptions below, and also in PDF format: Event planning specifics (pdf).
Arbor Day events run the spectrum from poster contests to community tree plantings. It offers a unique opportunity to promote the value of trees with respect to water quality, especially for preventing soil erosion. Back to top.
County fairs can be a perfect place to promote water resource conservation. This may be done through personal contact, or via unmanned displays, flyers, and other appropriate means. A rule of thumb is to keep the contact short, sweet and catchy, because people are usually passing through rather quickly. Try to take just a minute or two of their time, but remember to make that minute a marvelous one! Back to top.
Planning events or activities for Earth Day might not be as daunting as it seems. Many of the activities conducted water resource professionals such as watershed festivals, canoe floats, tours, trash pick-up, field days, or poster contests can simply be re-titled and fine-tuned to fit the Earth Day theme. Fortunately, there are also a myriad of websites out there that can help to get a program off the ground. Activities can be low maintenance and inexpensive such as a poster contest, or highly charged and more costly as in the case of a full-scale Earth Day event. Back to top.
Earth Science Week is sponsored by the American Geological Institute, and is generally held in October. The goal of the week is to highlight earth science. Specific objectives include giving students new opportunities to discover the earth sciences, to highlight contributions that earth scientists make to society, to publicize the fact that earth science is all around us, to encourage stewardship of the earth, and to develop a way for geoscientists to share knowledge. A packet of information is available from the Institute offering ways to celebrate the week. Back to top.
Soil and Water Stewardship Week is an excellent time to involve the religious community in water conservation efforts. Schools, community organizations and others might also become involved. Early in the winter a packet of materials about Soil and Water Stewardship Week is sent from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). Enclosed in the packet are educational materials, religious materials, graphics, fact sheets, ideas for activities, and other pertinent information. Traditionally, Soil and Water Stewardship Week is observed between the last Sunday in April and the first Sunday in May, although it can be held at anytime. An annual theme is selected each year. Past themes have included Community Waters, the Living Waters, In the Children’s Hands and Habitat for Life. Back to top.
Volunteer water monitoring is one example of “citizen science“. National organizations and State natural resource agencies offer many opportunities for people to help gather data about the status of particular natural resources. Data is then used by professionals to identify trends, needs, and successes. Water quality is one example. Others examples include frog monitoring, bird monitoring, butterfly monitoring, and invasive species mapping. Water monitoring can be a tremendous asset to water quality and quantity protection and restoration efforts. While volunteers contribute their efforts to these citizen science initiatives for “free,” these cost-effective programs require a great deal of planning and ongoing management. Luckily, many resources have been developed over time that can be shared among programs, helping to build a strong volunteer water monitoring citizen science community across the US and beyond. A “Guide for Growing Volunteer Monitoring Programs,” available from the USA Volunteer Water Monitoring Network, was developed to help direct program coordinators to resources.
Many natural resource organizations host water festivals for the general public and/or school groups. A water festival is a gathering, large or small, of citizens, young and old, from a specific watershed or county. This type of event is usually free and features displays, hands-on activities, food, informational handouts and community service projects. Typically people move from station to station to learn about watersheds, water quality and water conservation. While hosting this community event, you can make the public aware of your organization’s activities and services. Back to top.