Arizona Project WET answered the call of the mountains, with Arizona Water Festivals in Flagstaff, Payson, Prescott, and Verde Valley. The first in the series was the 17th Annual Flagstaff Water Festival (AWF). On September 26, thirty teachers from ten schools brought 646 students to the AWF! Flagstaff has a distinctly collaborative model thanks to a long-standing partnership with NAU’s Department of Education. Each year, NAU pre-service teachers train with APW and then facilitate water-centered activities for young festivalgoers. This time, 82 undergraduate volunteers engaged knowledgeable fourth graders during rotations that modeled the Arizona water cycle, watersheds, groundwater, conservation technology, and use/sustainability. Emily Melhorn of the Flagstaff Water Conservation Division said, “The Water Festival is an integral part of the City of Flagstaff’s strategy to educate our younger community members on the importance of water and protecting our watershed so that our homes can continue to thrive in the future for their benefit.”
The Flagstaff Water Festival was the first of many high points at the beginning of this school year. The 14th Annual Payson Water Festival brought together eight teachers from three schools and 189 students. Twenty-two Payson community volunteers joined in the fun on September 28! At the Prescott Water Festival, nine teachers from five schools enjoyed the field day with 288 students and 28 volunteers on Thursday, October 5. APW is delighted that the AWF has returned to Prescott after a 10+ year hiatus. Over the “hill” in Yavapai County, fourteen teachers from eight schools brought 385 students to the 17th Annual Verde Valley Water Festival on Thursday, October 19.
These mountain festivals are made possible by APW’s program partners: Flagstaff Unified School District, the City of Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University, Payson Unified School District, the Town of Payson, Yavapai County Flood Control District, as well as many Prescott and Verde Valley area school districts.