Last Saturday, we introduced the Conservation Station 3, or CS3, to folks who came to the Ames’ North Grand Farmers’ Market. With the addition of the CS3, our conservation fleet is now at 3 trailers. The CS3 has been specifically designed for outdoor classrooms as we go throughout the state with Water Rocks! and Conservation Pack activities. The new trailer was funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Aaron Andrews and Ann Staudt designed the inside of the trailer for all our outdoor classroom needs and we look forward to using it this fall. The CS3 comes with a rainfall simulator much like the Big CS. However, the trays will be slightly different as we engage young people in different issues concerning soil and water. For instance, we will use a roof garden tray when we are discussing urban water quality issues.
Also on Saturday, we gave visitors a “preview” of our statewide youth water campaign–Water Rocks! “Water Rocks!” is a four-year campaign for Iowa, primarily funded by Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Leopold Center. The purpose of “Water Rocks!” is to foster the interplay of knowledge, caring and engagement among Iowa’s youth that can lead to long-term multi-generational transformation of all Iowans.
This water outreach campaign, building on the work the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has been doing since 2008 through the Iowa Learning Farms program, combines science with emotional appeals, humor, music, music videos, animations, art, literature, multiculturalism and experiential learning. The program will educate and motivate networks of youth and adults to participate in local watershed improvement efforts while reducing their individual water footprints.
Water Rocks! will officially be launched in 2013. Many of the folks we talked to on Saturday loved the idea of Water Rocks! and were glad that there was something like this happening in the state.