In the month of May 2022, I was lucky enough to be involved with the Children’s Water Festival, which is a day-long field trip for 5th graders to the Gila River’s Box Canyon Day Use Area sponsored by the Upper Gila Watershed Alliance (UGWA). UGWA accommodated several schools over the course of 6 separate teaching days. The purpose of the field trip is to foster an appreciation for the Gila River, to help students make lasting connections with the riparian habitat and its plants and animals, and to have fun while doing it! I learned as much as the 5th graders. I was able to join 3 of the water festival days, where I conducted several activities teaching children basic concepts in hydrology and geomorphology, and how to use nature as a natural laboratory. We measured water quality, water velocity, explored the river’s macroinvertebrates, and did a filtration experiment I designed from scratch. It was a very fulfilling experience and can’t wait to do it again!

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