Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The RiverMobile Visits Sidney!

After a couple months of planning this event, we were finally able to see it come into fruition. Our RiverMobile has never been this far north before and this was an excellent opportunity to visit our river neighbors in Sidney. Sidney is extremely rural and most of the families have their own farmland. Agriculture is a huge part of life. It was really fun connecting with them and learning from each other.

The RiverMobile was showcased at two different events, the school tours for 4th graders and the Family Farm tours.

For a couple of weeks, I’ve been up to Sidney prepping for our Fairlawn tours. With the help of Leslie and Katelyn, Fairlawn FFA student leaders and moderators, Lynda Adams (Shelby Soil & Water Conservation District Education Coordinator), and of course some pretty awesome River Stewards, we were able to pull off a wonderful event.

Friday 16th
Fairlawn Local hosted 4th grade classes from Fairlawn, Holy Angels, and Jackson Center for their Harvest Days RiverMobile and Dairy Farm tours. They were split into two groups for the RiverMobile and Dairy Farm and then switched after lunch. Not only did the kids get to explore and learn from the RiverMobile, but they also had a lot of fun with the activities. Fairlawn FFA used our edible aquifer activity and they also had other crafts and edibles to incorporate their Harvest Day themes. The kids had a great day full of fun, learning, and treats!

The FFA leaders were trained earlier in the week so that they would be able to lead tours for Harvest Days. They put in a lot of work to organize and plan these events and I was beyond impressed. We brought some extra River Steward t-shirts for our FFA tour guides and they took their roles very seriously. When the school tours were complete, the FFA leaders invited Katelyn and I to Dell Delight Dairy Farm owned by their teacher, Mr. Sailor, and his family. We were able to see their milking facilities and even play with some cows!

Sunday 18th
Our River Stewards: Meg Maloney, Sarah Richard, Katie Weitzel, Ana Ritz, and Charlotte Shade led tours to families taking part in the Family Farm Tour day. The RiverMobile was only one of the many stations that were showcased that day.
Since I wasn’t able to attend the Family Farm Tour, some stewards shared their experience with me.

Katie: “It was really cool to see how interested people from the community were in conserving water and keeping the rivers clean.

Meg: “I loved working at the Drive-In Tour this weekend! I got to meet a lot of wonderful people! It was amazing to hear about how so many farmers are really concerned about keeping the water clean in our watershed. The conversation that stuck out to me the most was a gentleman who said

"Farmers often get a black eye for being the ones to pollute rivers, but we don't want our fertilizer in there either, we want to help. It's just hard to know how."

I think this is really powerful because it reinforces our mission to go out and reach out to the people in the community to help them combat pollution issues.

Sarah: "The community seemed to be genuinely interested in what we had to say no matter the age!
and the smiles on the kids’ faces when they got to paddle in the canoe was absolutely priceless"


Overall, this event only further delineated the whole reason the RiverMobile exists. Our watershed is special and our friends in Sidney also agree. Whether we use water for brushing our teeth or watering our crops, we all love our water and want to see it remain healthy. The younger kids loved sharing stories of how they enjoy the rivers and expressed how sad they would be if the fish were sick or if the waters weren’t clean. Our lovely neighbors in Sidney hosted us with the best hospitality. I can’t wait to make my way back to see those cows!