WaterRocks! Team Brings Conservation Counts Message to Iowa State Fair

AMES, IOWA — Iowa Learning Farms and the WaterRocks! Team from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and their volunteers are bringing a “conservation counts” message to the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 7-17. The WaterRocks! Team, known across the state as kid friendly, fun and educational, is a popular attraction at many Iowa events, fairs and celebrations.

They are teaming up with Farm Bureau for the state fair exhibit and will be at Farm Bureau Park, located between the Administration Building and the Varied Industries Building, where they will demonstrate the rainfall simulator, Enviroscape and conduct the “Poo Toss” challenge game during the fair.

The Conservation Station’s rainfall simulator demonstration shows the effects of rainfall on different surfaces including intense tillage, conservation tillage and no-till, and urban surfaces including pervious pavements, sod, and a green roof. Fair-goers of all ages can play the “Poo Toss” challenge game and Enviroscape demonstration to learn why dog poo and other pollutants should be kept out of water bodies, and then participate for prizes in the “Poo Toss” challenge.

“Everyone can help to improve water quality—whether in a big way or in a small way,” said Jackie Comito, program director for Water Rocks! and Iowa Learning Farms. “Conservation farming practices help reduce nutrients and soil leaving the fields and entering rivers and streams. Urban residents have a role too – by choosing to use less herbicides and pesticides on their lawns, install rain barrels, plant rain gardens and use less water in general.”

To further promote the message “conservation counts,” each day of the fair WHO-Radio AM1040 will air live interviews with farmers who are practicing good conservation methods and with experts who can help people to reduce water pollution and improve soil health. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Comito are scheduled for interviews on Thursday, the opening day of the fair.