On August 24, the Center for Lakes and Streams at Grace College, Winona Lake, Ind., partnered with the Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District and other organizations on the SWCD Water Drop Program rafting trip for Warsaw Community High School freshmen students.
In preparation for the event, the Center for Lakes and Streams assisted by updating and providing the scientific curriculum taught by raft leaders and chaperones during the trip, as well as providing a scavenger hunt for students on 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.
Program Administrator of the Kosciusko County SWCD and raft trip coordinator, Darci Zolman, said of the program, “This was the ninth year for the rafting program and the Soil and Water Conservation District is appreciative of the amazing community support and partnerships that come together to make it so successful. It is important for our youth to make connections with their local resources to develop a feeling of ownership and stewardship, as well as, make informed decisions in the future. This program is a springboard for that.”
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 not only want to educate the students, but also make the learning fun, engaging, and effective so it has a lasting impact on the way that students think about our local water resources.”
Other partners of the SWCD Water Drop Program include: Arrow Head Country RC&D, Camp Crosley, community volunteers, Lake Tippecanoe Property Owners Association, Local Conservation Officers, Merry Lea Environmental Center, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pie Eyed Petey’s, Purdue Cooperative Extension, St. Joseph County SWCD, The Watershed Foundation, University of Notre Dame, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and Zolman Farms and TranZstar, Inc.
This fall, the Center for Lakes & Streams will organize Lake Adventure Day for fourth-grade students in Kosciusko County, launch its 2016-2017 Classroom Lake Experience program, and distribute 2017 Calendars including artwork from the winners of the 2016 Lakes and Streams 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.