By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
ELLIS -- A group of Leadership 310 students at Fort Hays State University hosted the Ellis Water Festival on Thursday, which aims to promote water conservation through education.
The festival began in 2007 as a way to present water conservation awareness to the community.
"Back then, the city was just starting to enter a water crisis," said senior Kimberly Voeller, a member of the Leadership 310 team. "They wanted to bring the community together and teach them how to conserve water, so we can get more water into the creek."
Twelve FHSU agriculture students participated in demonstrating various aspects of water quality.
"It lets them visually see how pollution can enter into the lake," said Jean Gleichsner, associate professor of agriculture. "This lets them visually show how different areas contribute to pollution and things they can do to stop damaging the water."
Approximately 50 people attended the event, and the four-member leadership team could not cover all tables alone. Gleichsner volunteered her class to help.
She believes if her students can teach the material, they must be able to understand it.
"I wanted my students to be able to communicate with the public about water issues because these are things that aren't going away," she said. "You have to address them, especially since now water is becoming so limited. We really need to be sure we're using it wisely and making sure we don't contaminate it."
The event was comprised of several activity and informational tables for community members. Children were able to experience edible soil and create bracelets displaying the many minerals of the earth, while adults played water jeopardy and filled cups with sugary treats mimicking soil levels.
"(Most people) understand water when you turn the tap on, but they don't understand everyday things to promote the quality," Gleichsner said. "Not cleaning up after pets and pouring things down the storm drain definitely hurts water quality."