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Students learn about aspects of water

Tony Arola, a forester with the Red Lake Department of Natural Resources, shows fifth-graders from Blackduck Elementary School a slice of oak that can tell a story - the tree's age, that it was once in a fire and how drought affects growth rings. More than 200 fifth-graders from the area participated in the Wave of Knowledge: Learning the Language of Water Festival Tuesday at Concordia Language Villages. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Area fifth-graders dived into the themes of water and pollution prevention at a festival Tuesday near Bemidji.

The Wave of Knowledge: Learning the Language of Water Festival drew 227 fifth-graders from schools in Blackduck, Kelliher, Northome, Ponemah and Red Lake.

It was held at Waldsee, the German Language Village at Concordia Language Villages.

At the festival, students visited a dozen stations with themes ranging from wetlands to soils to water bugs and frogs to fire prevention to forestry.

"It shows students different aspects of water," said festival planner Jenilynn Bohm, who is a water resource biologist with the Red Lake Department of Natural Resources.

While at Waldsee, the students also toured the BioHaus, the first certified, super energy-efficient Passive House in North America.

Joel Rohde, water resources program director with the Red Lake DNR, said the festival brought together fifth-graders from the Red Lake Watershed. Through the festival, he said he hopes they will understand that they are from the same watershed and that water quality is impacted by everyone.

One of the stations Tuesday was called Fish Olympics.

"We are learning about fish advisories," said AshLee Hagen, a fifth-grader at Blackduck Elementary School.

Also attending the festival were Darren Cook and Bethany Dudley, fifth-graders at Red Lake Elementary School.

"It's just really fun," Darren said. "We've been learning about nature and animals."

"It's fun to be outside and it's pretty out here and it's fun to learn about different things," Bethany added.

Ethan Granger, a Blackduck Elementary School fifth-grader, noted that the festival gave him and other students ideas about taking care of the habitat of animals in nature.

The festival was an interagency effort between the Red Lake DNR, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Beltrami Soil and Water Conservation District and Environmental Protection Agency.