Sunday, June 16, 2013

WaterFest 2013 - a Day in Pictures

By now we more-or-less expect rain at WaterFest, so with looming clouds and an 80% chance of rain, we thought this year would be no different than several soggy but successful events in the past.  We were delighted, however, when the storm clouds seemed to detour around Lake Phalen leaving us with an amazing day and a fantastic event. 
More details below, but in no particular order, we first present A Day in Pictures.  Thanks to Anita Jader Photography and RWMWD staff for photo contributions.

Left:Dark clouds didn't stop friends and neighbors from coming out to enjoy the day.
Right: Pre-fest and afternoon yoga.
Left: Justine Koch from the U of MN Carp Research team teaches about their study on the Phalen Chain of Lakes. 
Right: The Minnesota Stand Up Paddleboarders Association got folks out on the water despite cold water temperatures and dark clouds.

Asian Outdoor Heritage, Dept. of Natural Resources and Joe's Sporting Goods introduce many to fishing
(including small superheroes).

Left: Maplewood Nature Center teaches kids about plants and pollinators. 
Right: The Federation of Fly Fishers helps guests make fly lures.

Left: St. Paul Parks and Rec provided an archery activity as one of their Get Outdoors activities.
Right: The Ridiculous Puppet Company attracts attention with "The Conversation Booth."

Left: Dean Hanson brings a lively collection of aquatic bugs.
Right: Midwest Avian Adoption & Rescue Services (MAARS) has a colorful array of friends.

MN Department of Natural Resources (Fishing in the Neighborhood), Joe's Sporting Goods and Asian Outdoor Heritage loan out fishing poles and bait hooks to get kids (and adults) excited about fishing.

Far Left: A volunteer helps kids catch images of aquatic animals and plants to teach them about what's under water.
Middle Left: RWMWD's Natural Resources program brings samples of aquatic macroinvertebrates (water bugs and other critters that don't have a vertebrate).
Middle Right: MN Herpetological Society brings some of their rescued animals and lets guests gently meet them and ask questions.  Far Right: LEAP Frog charms kids as she always does.

Left: Several food vendors made WaterFest a culinary delight.  Right: Students take their photo with LEAP Frog.
Left: St. Paul Parks and Recreation provide a jump castle as part of their Get Outdoors activities. 
Right: Rick Gravrok delights guests with giant bubbles and games.
Left: RMWWD's Natural Resources display attracts young and old to talk about native and invasive species. 
Right: Maplewood Nature Center allows kids to get up close and personal to snakes, frogs, turtles and much more.
Far Left: A WaterFest version of Capture the Flag.  Middle Left: Minnesota Water Well Association's (MWWA's) Water Drop mascot dances around WaterFest.  Middle Right: TWO climbing walls encouraged guests to get a better view of the festivities. Thanks to St. Paul Parks & Recreation and the MN National Guard for hosting these.  Right: Eureka Recycling and many diligent volunteers help us make WaterFest a No-Waste Event.

Left: Lee Rose Warner Nature Center gives rides on their solar pontoon boat.  Right: MN Department of Transportation helps us host a Raindrop Mystery Tour stop that teaches about stormdrains and polluted rainwater runoff.

Left: Minnehaha Creek Watershed District's Stormwater Putt Putt Golf game teaches about rain water's route to the river. 
Right:  Friends of the Mississippi River talks about their storm drain stenciling campaigns.

Left: Ramsey Conservation District's popular native plant giveaway.  Right: A volunteer hosts games that help teach what rainwater might come in contact with before it reaches groundwater or surface water.

Left: WaterLegacy came to talk about education and citizen engagement.  Right: 3M clowns entertain and create hundreds of balloon creations for guests.

Left: Matt Brickman hosts the Mobile Weather Watcher (which was especially entertaining with the weather that day!).  Right: Farnsworth Marching Band puts on a parade and show.

Left: Wilderness Inquiry teaches guests boat safety and paddling techniques - sometimes getting people in a canoe for their first time.  Right: A volunteer helps kids net up cards showing animals and plants that are commonly found in wetlands.

Left: The Center for Hmong Arts & Talent puts on a variety show while several people look on, including these girls who had rented a bike from Wheel Fun Rental (right).

Left: The Girl Scouts of Minnesota & Wisconsin River Valleys present "It's Your World - Love It." 
Right: Using arts and crafts to teach about native plants.

There are many more photos up on Facebook.  Check them out and tag yourself if we caught you on camera. 

We estimate that about 4000 people turned out for WaterFest this year!  It's unbelievable how much this celebration has grown.  Thank you to the staff, students and volunteers that helped out, to our Board of Managers for their support, and to Anita Jader for capturing so many great images.  An extra big round of applause goes out to Debbie Meister, our event coordinator extraordinaire.  So many volunteers, exhibitors, food vendors, activities, permits and nitty gritty details are not easy to wrangle, but she did an amazing job.  Thank you so very much for making this event a success.

Were you at WaterFest this year?  What was your favorite part?

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