Where does all the water go when you sprinkle
Or how about
when you wash you car? Or when you have some leftover
something that you just rinse down the storm drain?
If you live
in Holland, or its immediate surrounding areas, the chances
are very good that water ends up in Lake Macatawa.
in Lake Michigan.
watershed, and it has been, and continues to be, a big
problem for the area's waterways.
In an effort
to educate the public on the dangers of pollutants in
the watershed, five area groups, all with interests in
keeping the waterways clean, are teaming up to sponsor
Water Festival 2002. The Outdoor Discovery Center, owned
and operated by Wildlife Unlimited, is the host site for
the July 13 event. ODC has teamed up with Ottawa County
Parks and Recreation, Macatawa Greenway Partnership, DeGraaf
Nature Center and the Macatawa Watershed Project for the
toward watershed education," said Travis Williams, executive
director of Outdoor Discovery Center. "The idea is to
get a bunch of things going on so the kids can get an
up-close view of what is going on in the water, and why
it is important to keep it clean."
Lake Macatawa is anything but clean. From 1993 to 1997,
the water of Lake Macatawa was tested more than 60 times
and in all but five tests the lake received a grade of
Like in school,
E is a failing grade. In fact, it is the worst score possible,
indicating the water in Lake Macatawa is of "poorest water
most responsible for the terrible water quality in the
once-pristine lake is phosphorous. And much of the contamination
comes from seemingly benign things around the house, such
as fertilizer and car wash soap, said Ruth Cronk, chairman
of the Macatawa Watershed Project educational committee.
"Until I was
on this committee, I didn't realize the impact of things
we do right around our houses," said Cronk, a retired
elementary school teacher. "We want to educate the children
(and their parents) as to ways in which they can help
in terms of residential care. The little issues people
don't think about."
2002 will begin at 11 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. Those
four hours will be filled with a variety of hands-on educational
activities for children of all ages, ranging from a duck
float for prizes in a kiddie pool, to fishing in one of
the many ponds at ODC, to building and floating scale
be art projects, wetland investigations and a watershed
nature walk on the boardwalks at ODC, and also a series
of educational booths on a variety of environmental issues,
from composting to soil sampling to invasive species education.
One of the
most popular attractions of the day promises to be the
Watershed Project's enviroscape models. Using the enviroscapes,
the children can get a first-hand look at the effects
of contaminants in the watershed.
In the 3-foot
by 3-foot models, the demonstrator uses cocoa and Kool-Aid
to show how the soil traps things and how it erodes down
into the watershed. They can also use water tinted with
red food coloring to represent pesticides, and show how
the contaminants can easily make their way through the
watershed to the lake.
phenomenal models," Cronk said. "You show them what happens,
then you show them what people are working on to clean
"We try to
make it as interactive as possible, so the kids are involved."
Water Festival 2002 is designed to be interactive, particularly
for the children, but for the parents as well. The object
is to spark an interest in the youth, which will hopefully
be carried over to the home in much the same way that
children have helped lead parents down the path of recycling.
trying to bring awareness of water being our most precious
natural resource and that we have to protect it. And it
starts with the watershed system," Williams said. "We've
got to build awareness of those issues, or Lake Mac is
going to look good now, compared to what it will look
like in 10 years."
To get to
the Outdoor Discovery Center from Holland, go south on
Lincoln Ave., which turns into 56th St. Stay on 56th St.
around Tulip City Airport, and the entrance to the Outdoor
Discovery Center, 4204 56th St., is on the west side of
56th St. between 143rd and 142nd.
For more information
about Water Festival 2002 or the ODC, call Williams at