Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival: Schools from 17 Counties to Attend on May 14

May 2, 2024

Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival: Schools from 17 Counties to Attend on May 14

The Central Platte Natural Resources District is excited to host the annual Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival, featuring 36 school groups from 17 counties. The event will take place on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at the Central Community College and College Park campuses in Grand Island, Nebraska.

With over 700 fifth-grade students expected to attend, the festival will offer a day filled with educational experiences focused on groundwater and its significance to Nebraska. Students will participate in six hands-on classroom-style activities, attend two stage shows, and interact with professionals from 36 water and natural resources organizations.

Activities and Learning Opportunities
The festival will cover a range of topics related to groundwater, including aquifers, floodplains, watersheds, stream health, wildlife, ecosystems, wetlands, stormwater, wastewater, groundwater for agriculture, soil health, and more. Volunteers and presenters will guide students through these activities to ensure an engaging experience.

Program  Lists schools attending, activity descriptions, presenters, activity location, sponsors

Maps  Central Community College (CCC), Center for Health and Technical Science (CHTS), College Park (CP)

Volunteers Needed
To make the event a success, the festival requires over 100 volunteers to help with various tasks, such as guiding school groups, manning registration desks, assisting in the lunch tent, and supporting presenters. Emilee Bruns from Barr Middle School will bring 50 National Junior Honor Society students to help as classroom guides and assistants.
Interested volunteers may contact Marcia Lee or Brody Vorderstrasse at the Central Platte NRD at (308) 385-6282

How the Festival Began
The Groundwater Festival was established in 1985—39 years ago—to educate Nebraska students about groundwater in all its facets. It promotes awareness about groundwater issues, such as contamination and responsible water use, while fostering a sense of stewardship among the students. Since 2004, the Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD) has coordinated the festival, marking this year as the 20th anniversary of CPNRD’s involvement.

How Students Learn at the Festival
The festival uses a classroom-style approach with 25-minute sessions to engage students in critical thinking and problem-solving. Presenters, including water experts, environmental educators, and performing artists, deliver a range of interdisciplinary hands-on activities, interactive displays, and entertainment, providing a rich learning experience.

Schools Attending
· Axtell Elementary, Kearney
· Bryan Elementary, Dawson (3 classes)
· Centennial Elementary, Seward
· Dodge Elementary, Hall (3 classes)
· Emmanuel-Faith Lutheran, York
· Eustis-Farnam Elementary, Frontier
· Hitchcock County, Hitchcock
· Humphrey St. Francis, Platte
· Kenesaw Elementary, Adams (2 classes)
· Litchfield Elementary, Sherman
· Ord Elementary, Valley (3 classes)
· Pershing Elementary, Dawson (9 classes)
· Red Cloud Elementary, Webster
· Riverside Elementary, Boone
· Sandhills Elementary, Blaine
· Sandy Creek Elementary, Clay
· Shell Creek, Platte (2 classes)
· St. Anthony Elementary, Platte
· St. Paul Elementary, Howard (2 classes)
· St. Edward Elementary, Boone
· Superior Elementary, Nuckolls

International Impact
The Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival was the first of its kind, and its success has led to similar festivals being established in nearly 40 U.S. states, as well as in Mexico, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom. The festival’s effectiveness is demonstrated by pre-and post-tests, evaluations, and a behavioral impact study, all indicating a positive influence on children’s awareness, knowledge, and behavior toward groundwater protection.

2024 Sponsors
Main Sponsor ($10,000)

Central Platte Natural Resources District

Awesome Aquifer Adventurer ($1,000 – $5,000)
Fred Otradovsky
Hunter Industries/Senninger

Legendary Lake Leaguer ($400 – $999)
Lower Loup Natural Resources District

Babbling Brook Benefactor ($250 – $399)
Copycat Printing and Signs
Coca-Cola of Grand Island
Grand Island Rotary
NEDELCO Inc/DBA Hamilton Communications
Olsson Inc
Pepsi Beverages Company-Grand Island
The Daughtery Water for Food Global Institute
The Groundwater Foundation

Supreme Springwater Supporter ($100 – $249)
Agricultural Services Inc
CHI Health St. Francis
General Collection Company Inc.
Kiwanis Club of Grand Island
Little Blue Natural Resources District
Sam‘s Club of Grand Island
Super Saver – Grand Island State Street
Walmart North of Grand Island
Wanitschke Family
Wenzl Construction

Festival Friend ($0 – $99)
Lee’s Family Restaurant
Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District
Walmart South of Grand Island
Super Saver – Grand Island Second Street

Central Community College & College Park provide their facilities and staff time at no cost.