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Locally Led Success
Big Sioux Water Festival

The annual Big Sioux Water Festival has been providing fourth grade students from a ten county area reaching from Dell Rapids to Milbank in Eastern South Dakota with the opportunity to learn about water in the form of activities, presentations and exhibits. The festival held on the campus of South Dakota State University regularly draws over 1,000 students. The Festival is designed to promote water and all its properties to a group that we hope will carry the event's impact into their adult lives.

The Brookings County Conservation District, East Dakota Water Development District and South Dakota State University share main sponsorship of the festival. Other sponsors include South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources; South Dakota Department of Forestry, South Dakota Game, Fish and parks; and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Several other entities provide donations of money, products, merchandise and volunteers.

As environmental issues become more prevalent, we feel the need for this type of educational effort is vital. Water is a very valuable resource. It is used in every aspect of life. The Festival reaches a large diverse audience. In many cases, the Festivals are a closure of a water science unit from which the children have had an opportunity to study water and water related issues. We feel the Festival is a reinforcement of the teacher's efforts to help their students understand the difficulties that they may encounter in the future as they become caretakers of our water resources.

Festival personnel work year round to provide quality educational opportunities to all participants. We provide expertise, materials, activities, area-specific information, classroom curriculum and host workshops for educators who wish to teach a water unit. Educational “Traveling Trunks” are available to teachers to use in their classrooms; they include “Wetlands to Go”, “Wacky Weather”, “Lakes & Streams” and “Water History”. They are filled with classroom curriculum, games, books multi-media materials, music and many more items that teacher's can use in the classroom.



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