Water in spotlight for local students

Treatment plant is venue for schools' field trip

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Excited laughter and conversations among young voices created a different atmosphere at the Littleton/Englewood Wastewater Treatment Plant as more than 500 students from Englewood, Littleton and Denver made a field trip there for World Water Day activities.

“We have expanded the event this year and have more students attending it,” said Brenda Varner, plant employee and event coordinator. “We have gotten help in expanding the event from a number of agencies that are providing volunteers and displays. Each school's student group is scheduled to visit every station. The stations provide the opportunity to check out displays, listen to presentations and do hands-on activities. I am sure one of the more popular hand-on activities will be at the booth where each student can create a special T-shirt.”

She said the school groups arrived at different times Sept. 23. Each group then followed a schedule from station to station.

Sixth-graders from Littleton Preparatory Charter School took part in the event. At one of the tour stations, Lily Stinton and other Littleton Prep students were divided into small groups and ran a number of tests on water from the South Platte River.

“I am learning a lot of things I didn't know about water,” Stinton said. “I am learning about what has to be done to water so it is safe for us to drink. I am glad I came today.”

Rima Garkow, mother of a Littleton Prep student, attended the event and she said she felt it was a very informative field trip for the students.

“I feel it helps our student have a better understanding of what untreated water is like,” she said. “They also learn about the process used to purify the water we drink.”

Fourth-graders from Cherrelyn Elementary School attended the event, and Harry Spengler, a Cherrelyn teacher, said the field trip is a good experience for the students.

“This field trip fits right in with our study of the water cycle and the impact humans have on the cycle,” he said. “Today, the students can learn about the water treatment process and the impact people can have on the environment.”

A short distance away, students from Colorado's Finest High School of Choice were looking over some of the displays.

Teacher Sarah Cramer said the field trip was part of the Colorado's Finest STEM program and provided the students with good information and hand-on experiences with water.

Shy Clanton, a Colorado's Finest student, agreed.

“I think it is fun getting to see and learn about where our water comes from and what it is used for,” she said. “We learned about the treatment of sewer water and we learned about how drinking water is purified.”

Fellow student Charles Childers said it was fun testing river water.

“The water looks OK when you have it in the flask,” he said. “Then with the tests and the displays you learn about all the stuff that is in the river and in the river water. I didn't know much about the river and the water in it so it is cool to learn about those things.”

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