Posts Tagged ‘4-H Club’

A Sojourn into the Wizarding World

Posted on: June 24th, 2016 by Caroline Stupple

After a year of activ­i­ties rang­ing from dis­sect­ing owl pel­lets to roller­coast­er engi­neer­ing, the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) pre­sent­ed some water­shed activ­i­ties to the 4‑H Tech Wiz­ards — stu­dents at Miller Mid­dle School, Bai­ley Mid­dle School, and Ellenville Ele­men­tary School. 4‑H Tech Wiz­ards is a Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster Coun­ty pro­gram run by edu­ca­tors Alli­son Solian and Matt Helffrich.


IMG_1713 (1)

Water­shed Edu­ca­tor, Brent Gotsch, and Bai­ley Mid­dle School Tech Wiz­ards explor­ing water­sheds and the impor­tance of water­shed protection.


Our first ses­sion with the wiz­ards start­ed off with a dis­cus­sion about the water cycle and where water comes from. We then focused on how water flows across the land­scape and col­lects in a water­shed. The wiz­ards dis­cussed things that humans typ­i­cal­ly build near water and then built a water­shed from paper com­plete with farms, hous­es, and fac­to­ries. We used dif­fer­ent water-sol­u­ble col­ored mark­ers to rep­re­sent the pol­lu­tants that can be pro­duced by those devel­op­ments if not man­aged well, and filled in the crevices of the land­scape. Then came the real­ly excit­ing part — a spray bot­tle filled with water. “Wow!!” exclaimed the kids as they could see all the dif­fer­ent “pol­lu­tants” run down from their devel­oped areas and col­lect in the water­shed in the mid­dle of the tray. Our con­ver­sa­tion seam­less­ly flowed into dis­cus­sion about the impor­tance of con­ser­va­tion and pro­tec­tion of our water­sheds for human use and envi­ron­men­tal stability.



Water­shed Edu­ca­tor, Car­o­line Stup­ple, and Ellenville Ele­men­tary School Tech Wiz­ards explor­ing the impor­tance of wet­lands and what remov­ing them can do to the flood­ing pat­tern of a stream.


Our sec­ond ses­sion was anoth­er water-based activ­i­ty – the flood­plain mod­el! The wiz­ards were an engaged and thought­ful bunch whose enthu­si­asm for flood­ing out the lit­tle mod­el vil­lages they built was matched by their fas­ci­na­tion with pos­si­ble engi­neer­ing solu­tions to the flood­ing prob­lems. After test­ing pre­dic­tions and solu­tions, the wiz­ards were able to look at a Flood Insur­ance Rate Map for their school dis­trict and were sur­prised to learn about their school’s prox­im­i­ty to flood­plains, and about flood pro­tec­tion tech­niques. At the end the wiz­ards were allowed to stop­per the end of the mod­el and pour water on the rain­mak­er, this sent all their homes afloat; the pure joy this brought to the wiz­ards was well worth it.



Water­shed Edu­ca­tor, Matt Savat­gy, and Miller Ele­men­tary School Tech Wiz­ards manip­u­lat­ing the mod­el and exam­in­ing the impacts that devel­op­ing imper­vi­ous struc­tures, such as park­ing lots, has on streams.


AWSMP had a great time work­ing with the Tech Wizard’s 4‑H Club and we look for­ward to more fun stream activ­i­ties with them this summer!