Media Advisory: 700 Students Expected at DEP-Hosted Southern Maine Children’s Water Festival Friday

May 11, 2012

CONTACT:
Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Director of Communications & Education samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov / 287-5842 (office) or 592-0427 (cell)

-The day-long immersion in the wonders of water and how to protect it will be held in Portland-

PORTLAND – Around 700 fourth, fifth and sixth grade students and their teachers from 14 area schools will flow onto USM’S Portland Campus next Friday for a day of fun and interactive learning about clean water, wetland ecosystems and the importance of stewarding Maine’s most rapidly renewable resource.

The 17th annual Southern Maine Children’s Water Festival is organized through a partnership of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Poland Spring, US Fish & Wildlife and 19 other local, state and federal agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Elementary and/or middle schools from Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Saco, Sanford, Alfred, New Sharon, Manchester, Harrison, Mt. Vernon, Wayne and Hebron will be attending and volunteers from Gorham High School and Morse High Schools will serve as festival guides for the youngsters.

Activities include Dripial Pursuit, a quiz show on water issues with VIP hosts including Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho; classroom activities led by the state’s leading environmental educators; an interactive play staged by Ferry Beach Ecology School; and plenty of time to tour the exhibition hall, where there will be dozens of displays–including a marine tidepool touch tank– focusing on engaging environmental protection topics like oil spill clean-up, reading a secchi disc to determine water quality and the process through which wastewater is treated.

The media is encouraged to attend. Please contact Samantha DePoy-Warren in advance of the water festival or via cell phone at 592-0427 the day of the event if you would like assistance in planning your coverage or guidance around the campus.

WHO: 700 southern Maine fourth, fifth and sixth graders and their teachers and more than 100 volunteers from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Poland Spring, US Fish & Wildlife and 19 other local, state and federal agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Participating schools include: Wayne Elementary School, Hebron Station School, Scarborough Middle School, Saco Middle School, Cape Cod Elementary School (New Sharon), Memorial Middle School (S Portland), Manchester Elementary School, Lyseth Elementary School (Portland), Harrison Elementary School, Kaler Elementary School (S Portland), Mt. Vernon Elementary School, Helena Dyer Elementary School (S Portland), Alfred Elementary School and St. Thomas School (Sanford)

Sponsors include: Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Poland Springs Bottling Company, Pierce Atwood, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, Texas Instruments, Maine Coastal Program US Fish & Wildlife, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (DHHS), Biddeford-Saco Water District, Compliance Designs, Drumlin Environmental, LLC, Image Inc., Poland Spring Resort, Jordan Excavation, Maine Forest Service, McDonald Morrissey Associates Inc., Portland Water District , Ransom Environmental, Sevee & Maher Engineers, Inc., South Berwick Water District, Summit Engineering & Consulting LLC, Titcomb Associates, Woodard & Curran and the Yarmouth Water District

WHAT: 17th Annual Southern Maine Children’s Water Festival

WHERE: Sullivan Gym, University of Southern Maine Portland Campus

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Friday, May 18

*Please note: DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho will be hosting the water related quiz show from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 before touring the exhibit hall.

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