Water Water Everywhere!

Can something be both destructive but not dangerous?

The answer is a resounding yes. That was just one of the lessons second graders at Kent Elementary School learned during a virtual presentation on erosion offered by the Center for Environmental Education at PNW BOCES.

Students sit at desks watching a presentation projected on a screen

Presented by CEE Program Assistant Cat Leist, the program helped students discover the properties of water that make it both a key to human survival and one of the most destructive forces on the planet.

Through a series of slides detailing sinkholes, mudslides, flash floods, tsunamis, glacial rivers and places like the Grand Canyon and the Hudson River Palisades, students were able to see just how water shapes and reshapes the earth over time due to the process called erosion.

“Knowing that water is heavy lets us understand just how the movement of water causes the surface of the earth to change,” Cat explained. She added that even places with no bodies of water around them, such as forests or wooded hillsides, could fall prey to the effects of water as root systems become weakened with absorption of water from heavy rains over time.

By observing an experiment representing a city that sat below a mountain range, students, who were both in the classroom and learning remotely, were challenged to come up with solutions to help offset the destructive forces of water.

The plastic and cloth materials used in the small-scale model of the beach city represent real-life solutions to divert water like culverts, retaining walls, water bars, vegetation, mangroves, stones, and gravel. They learned how these real-world strategies can be implemented to save cities and towns from flooding and water destruction.

The Erosion program was part of a series of dynamic Environmental Education programs that will be offered by BOCES CEE educators to district schools through June.