Each year 600 fourth-graders from public and private schools as well as homeschool students from Prince George’s and Montgomery counties attend WSSC’s Children’s Water Festival. Held during National Drinking Water Week, this annual, two-day Signature event is FREE and features hands-on learning focused on water, the Chesapeake Bay, the environment, human health and aquatic life. Due to the popularity of the event, schools are randomly selected from a pool of applications from teachers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The lottery-style drawing chooses approximately 10 schools for this unique opportunity.
WSSC’s outdoor festival provides age-appropriate, hands-on learning about water and the environment. Our goal is to help students understand the impact everyday habits have on the availability and quality of water, life's most precious resource. WSSC’s mascot, Willy Water, serves as the official host of the event.
In 2015, we celebrated the 10th anniversary with proclamations from Prince George’s and Montgomery counties naming May 6 and 7 “Children’s Water Festival Days.” In its 10 years, more than 5700 children have attended.
A decade of the Children's Water Festival! It's one of WSSC's signature community outreach events. Over the course of two days, about 700 4th graders from Montgomery and Prince George's counties spend the day at Brighton Dam learning all things water.
Student groups visit a series of activity stations throughout the day, each one focused on interactive learning. WSSC partners with local agencies and organizations to assist in providing educational opportunities for the children to interact directly with wildlife, water and wetlands. Fun activities and games keep the children moving and engaged. Unique learning modules such as the “EnviroScape” model, a groundwater simulator and Water Cycle H2O, a model that demonstrates the hydrologic (water) cycle are used to educate children on their impacts to the environments. Competitions such as the “Bucket Brigade” and “Fish Olympics” get children up and moving as they learn how much water the average person uses every day and how aquatic life is impacted by their actions. It is the perfect blend of entertainment and education!
Past partners in the festival include Philips Wharf Environmental Center, Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, Montgomery County Recycling, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the National Aquarium.
For the 10th Anniversary event on May 7, 2015, WSSC was honored by the presence of Prince George’s County Executive, Rushern Baker III. Mr. Baker visited most of the educational booths where he laughed and talked with the students. He then presented WSSC with a proclamation recognizing the Commission for its dedication to environmental stewardship and educating the community about the value of water. Commission Chair Omar N. Boulware, General Manager Jerry N. Johnson and Festival Founder Angela Ballard-Landers accepted on behalf of WSSC. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett issued a similar Children’s Water Festival proclamation. WSSC extends a special thank you to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue for providing an ambulance and emergency medical personnel for the festival. During the event, Mr. Baker tweeted, “Enjoying a gorgeous day with @WSSCWaterNews at the 10th Anniversary of the Children's Water Festival. Water=Life!” and “Flooded in a sea of kids @WSSCWaterNews #WaterFestival. A swimmingly fluid & fun event. (4 H20 references one tweet).”
The days culminate each year with the “Hydro-Logic Game,” a Jeopardy-style game that tests the students’ learning and insights from the day’s activities. Winners receive a year’s worth of bragging rights for their participation and comprehension.