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Water, water everywhere

Kitsap County fourth-graders painted dead fish to make fish prints Tuesday at the Kitsap Water Festival at the Fairgrounds. More than 1,000 students attended the annual event to learn about water, wildlife and other topics. - Rachel Brant/staff photo
Kitsap County fourth-graders painted dead fish to make fish prints Tuesday at the Kitsap Water Festival at the Fairgrounds. More than 1,000 students attended the annual event to learn about water, wildlife and other topics.
— image credit: Rachel Brant/staff photo

County fourth-graders attend annual Kitsap Water Festival.

Tuesday proved to be the perfect day for the Kitsap Water Festival.

Mother Nature even got in the spirit of the event and dumped buckets of rain throughout the day.

More than 1,000 fourth-graders from across the county descended upon the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Tuesday for the Kitsap Water Festival.

Kitsap Public Utility District Education Manager Debbie Thomas said the Water Festival started in 1994.

“We received a Department of Ecology grant to put on the first festival. It was kind of seed money to get it started,” Thomas said.

She said more than 1,000 fourth-graders from all five county school districts were invited to this year’s event as well as Bainbridge Island fifth-graders.

“It just fit well with the fourth-grade curriculum,” Thomas said. “We also offer it to private schools and homeschool groups.”

Students attended classroom sessions and checked out exhibits Tuesday learning about water, pollution and wildlife, among other things.

“The presenters are professionals in the field,” Thomas said.

Despite the rain, students enjoyed both the indoor and outdoor activities including fish printing with the Great Peninsula Conservancy, checking out a dive tank courtesy of Sound Dive Center and walking through a septic system display.

“We all had a really good time,” Thomas said.

Students crowded around the Poulsbo Marine Science Center touch tank to learn about and touch starfish, crabs and other creatures.

Thomas said “water connects everything,” so it’s important for young people to learn about it. The Water Festival is a great way to bring together a variety of resources, she added.

“The presenters love it, the teachers love it and the kids love it,” Thomas said. “It’s one day of concentrated learning. There was a lot of knowledge passed around Tuesday.”

Thomas said the Water Festival is typically held at Olympic College in March, but scheduling conflicts forced it to be moved to the Fairgrounds in May.

The Water Festival is put on by various groups including Kitsap County Public Works, the Great Peninsula Conservancy, Silverdale Water District, city of Bremerton and others.

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