AMES, Iowa – Water Rocks!, a unique, award-winning statewide water education program, and Iowa Learning Farms, a hands-on education and outreach program for farmers throughout Iowa, reached a milestone at the Jones County Fair Friday. This event marks the culmination of a multi-year effort to bring their conservation entertainment, education and demonstrations to every county fair in Iowa.
ILF and Water Rocks! teams accompany three Conservation Station trailers to carry a culture of conservation message to as many venues as possible. Since 2010, they have participated in 162 county fairs. From its first fair visit in 2007 to a record-setting 28 fairs in 2016, the organizations have packed in visits seven days a week during the short county fair season each year.
“We are excited to achieve this milestone, and we intend to continue to be at as many fairs as we can for years to come,” said Jacqueline Comito, director of Water Rocks! and Iowa Learning Farms. “Conservation and water quality are important for all Iowans of every age and background. We draw in the kids with music, videos and hands-on games like the Poo Toss and the Watershed Game, but we also hook the parents and grandparents with the culture of conservation message.”
Beyond sharing games, music and sometimes, free popcorn, the teams discuss practical conservation techniques and strategies that can be employed by farmers as well as homeowners. Visitors to the Conservation Stations are provided with actionable information about environmental impacts and benefits, ranging from nitrogen reduction and waste management concepts, to cover crop and no-till components of a conservation plan.
Demonstrations include a Rainfall Simulator, which shows the different infiltration and runoff characteristics of traditional tillage, no-till, cover crop and urban surfaces.
“The Conservation Stations have been made welcome at every fair, and we are grateful to the local community members and partners that have been an important part of achieving this goal,” said Comito. “We strive to make learning fun and to provide value to each visitor. From the smiles, complements and return visitors we’ve seen, we feel we are making a positive difference.”
The Conservation Station and Water Rocks! Have a few more fairs this summer:
- July 20, Tama County
- July 20, Decatur County
- July 21, Poweshiek County
- July 21, Henry County
- July 23, Jasper County
- July 24, Story County
- July 25, Wayne County
- July 26, Monroe County
- July 26, Des Moines County
- July 27, Fayette County
- July 27, Crawford County
- July 28, Hancock County
- Aug. 3, Clayton County
- Aug. 4, Mitchell County
To learn more about Iowa Learning Farms outreach and education programs, please visit www.iowalearningfarms.org