Stetson to Make Educational Splash at Water Festival

Water is becoming an endangered global resource. Aquifers, lakes, rivers and springs are drying up or contaminated by agricultural runoff, industrial waste or other pollutants.

Also affecting freshwater resources are floods, sea level rise, wetland destruction, water shortages and droughts due to altering weather patterns.

montage of two photos: children at a table with a spin the wheel game; a woman stands at table and display for Stetson's Institute of Water.
Left, children learn about the importance of water preservation during activities at The Water Festival. Right, Shelley Gentile, the Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience’s program manager, educates the community about water conservation during the Festival.

Ever the watchful defender of Florida’s precious water resources, the Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience (IWER) at Stetson University and other Volusia Water Alliance members and area organizations are joining forces to educate the community about the significance of water, one of the most important natural resources, during The Water Festival on Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., on West Indiana Avenue in downtown DeLand. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

A child learns how a water supply system works during The Water Festival.

IWER and the Volusia Water Alliance are committed to spreading the word about water conservation. IWER focuses on water and environmental research and uses innovative approaches for tackling complex challenges and offering policy options for protecting natural resources throughout Florida.

The Volusia Water Alliance is dedicated to the future of the Florida Aquifer, natural springs and rivers to expand its sustainable mission and vision for protecting the county’s water sources.

Water is essential for life.

The Center for Earth Jurisprudence educates the community about advancing laws and policies aimed to legally protect the sustainability of life and health on Earth during The Water Festival.

“Water is connected to everybody and everything, and we especially need to reach young people,” said Shelley Gentile, the institute’s program manager. “It’s our duty to ensure there’s a world for them after we’re gone.”

The festival, now in its third year, had an estimated 2,500 attendees last year. This year’s water fete will include the Zephyrhills WaterVentures Lab, a mobile museum with interactive exhibits inside and an outdoor activity center, blessing of the water, water educational displays and information booths, mermaids, sidewalk chalk artists, entertainment, kids’ activities, face painting and vendors.

A sidewalk chalk artist creates a woman’s portrait during The Water Festival.

The Water Festival is informing its attendees about water preservation and how to make a difference in the future.

“The Water Festival touches as many people as possible in a very accessible, fun way in order to spark people’s interests in water issues,” said Gentile. “Education is a powerful tool for providing the public with an opportunity to see all of the ways that water is connected to the community.”

Sandra Carr