Butler County Times Gazette
  • Butler hosts Walnut River Festival

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  • More than 450 fourth graders, including those from El Dorado, attended the annual Walnut River Water Festival at Butler Community College Tuesday for a day of learning about water, the environment and more.
    Activities included recycling, stream health, soil erosion, aquatic life, wildlife, water quality, electricity, weather, water cycle and others.
    The students broke up into small groups for the hands-on activities.
    In one room, students were learning about trees, drawing their own rings on a tree before finding a place in the room where the tree would want to grow.
    Other rooms offered students the opportunity to make recycle art, creating people out of milk jugs and other items.
    Other students used dish soap and straws to blow bubbles, which they then measured the circumference and diameter of.
    Still others took part in activities to sort trash into compost material, recyclable items and hazardous waste to show they how important it is to recycle. Each family could recycle up to 50 percent of their trash.
    Another stop offered the H2O Olympics, where students did such things as see how much water they could put on a penny, learning about cohesion and other attributes of water.
    One tasty stop for students was in the edible soil rooms, where they made their own soil with different layers out of food, then got to eat it.
    The water festival is a cooperative effort between the Butler County Conservation District and Butler Community College. Funding is provided by HollyFrontier Refinery. Other sponsors include the city of El Dorado, Kansas Foundation for Ag in the Classroom and Butler County Public Works.
    Presenters included BCC BEST (Butler Emporia Students to Teachers) students, BCC Biology and Environmental Science classes, National Weather Service, Sedgwick County Zoo, Butler Rural Electric Cooperative, Kansas Dept of Health and Environment, Butler County Farm Bureau, Cowley and Butler County Natural Resources Conservation Service, BCC Life Enrichment, Butler County Energy Manager, City of El Dorado, Butler County Public Works, Butler County History Museum and other volunteers.

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