Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Many Languages of Water: Celebrate Water Is Life at WaterFest! May 31

By Sage Passi

Dej yug siav. Biyo waa nolol. Agua es Vida. L’eau est la vie! In any language, Water is Life!

Harding High Earth Club rehearses at their school for the Water is Life 
celebration at WaterFest.
Join in the festivities at WaterFest to celebrate the many languages of water. Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District and the City of St. Paul invite you to participate in the Water is Life celebration and procession that begins at 11:00 AM on the bridge north of the Pavilion in Phalen Park on Saturday, May 31. Then follow the parade to the dedication celebration at the west side of the lake at the waterfall that has recently been restored by St. Paul. For the rest of the day take part in the many varied activities of WaterFest throughout the park on St. Paul’s Get Out of Doors Day!

Harding High heads off to the Lake Phalen waterfall in late April
to practice for the waterfall dedication ceremony. 
Harding High Earth Club students, Farnsworth Aerospace third and fourth grades and a class from St. Peter School will kick off WaterFest with a ceremony on the bridge that honors the many personalities, roles and seasonal attributes of water. Water drawn from the many lakes, creeks and wetlands in the District will be symbolically merged to acknowledge that “water connects us all.” Bev Blomgren and Sage Passi have been working with students for several months to create performances for both WaterFest and a dedication ceremony at Maplewood Mall for the interactive Water is Life sculpture and the Rainy Day mural unveiling on Saturday, May 24. **Read more about the Maplewood Mall Ceremony here **

Bev Blomgren coaches Farnsworth students who will be
performers in the Water is Life celebration.  The "Eagle"
puppet is one of the many characters in the production.

Water is water.

It is fog, frost and sea.

When autumn comes chasing,

Water comes racing.

Water can be a

Leaf river

A fire snuffer

An eagle flyway

A salmon highway.

Farnsworth fouth-graders dramatize water's ability to "snuff out" fire.
The limestone walled waterfall at Lake Phalen on the western side of the lake was created in the 1950’s. “Originally, there was a well dug with it, and water flowed from the well to Lake Phalen to supplement the water levels, which were receding at times,” says Brian Murphy, St. Paul’s landscape architect who directed the redesign efforts.

The waterfall on Lake Phalen's western shore was built in the 1950s.
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Dormant for many decades, the waterfall will be “turned on” at WaterFest to circulate water to and from the lake.
Harding High Earth Club prepare for the waterfall dedication
ceremony on May 31st.
A lift station for the waterfall will draw water from Lake Phalen through an intake structure located in the lake. The water will be pumped up the hill to the upper basin and cascade to the lower basin. There are two channels with decorative grates that lead from the lower basin through the plaza to a cascade at the shore where the water will return to the lake.

Shannen Lachkameya, Harding High's Earth
Club advisor and a student in front of one
of the grates that carries water from the
waterfall to the lake.

Efforts to restore the waterfall began several years ago with the development of the updated Phalen-Keller Regional Park master plan, a document that offers guidance for the future of the two adjoining parks that draw more than 1 million people annually. 

Watch on our website, www.rwmwd.org, for schedules and maps showing the Waterfall Dedication and other exhibits at this year's WaterFest on May 31st! 

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