Celebrating a great year of Water Exploration 13 September 2016 Programme Assistant Hannah Owen looks back at Year 2 of our Water Explorer programme The beginning of the new school year is a great chance to celebrate the achievements of our Water Explorer programme. Water Explorers across the world wrap up their explorer journey in style by holding water festivals in their community. The end of year 2 brought an abundance of festivals overflowing with action, celebration, education and community empowerment. Here are some of the highlights ready and waiting for you to dive in. One festival in particular demonstrated strong collaboration, Water Explorers from year 5 and 6 at Two Gates Primary School in Tamworth, UK worked together to create an event that was full to the brim with educational activities. They used creative and fun ways to make learning interactive; amongst many activities of the day were a blindfolded taster test of bottled vs tap water and a ‘Did you know?’ game of surprising water usage facts. For example, did you know it takes 10 litres of water to produce 1 sheet of paper? IC Madre Bucchi from Milan, Italy had an action-packed festival - they created an App called #WATER that is aimed at raising awareness on the quantity of water that is used during everyday life and that gives practical advice on how to save water. The App is free and available for both Android and IOS phones. Using their insight, the geography club at St Bishops Stopford School in Enfield, UK, led the way throughout the festivities. They performed their ‘water rap’ and took people on a journey through the hidden water secrets of different food types. To wrap up, they shared their knowledge and key water-saving messages in a water-themed assembly to the rest of their school. This ripple effect of insight-sharing between students is just what Water Explorer is about. On the morning of The Mpophomeni Enviro Champs festival in South Africa, they heard the pitter-patter of rain to which they had a refreshing reaction and explained that “in the African tradition, this is an auspicious sign for important occasions.” Their festival combined education, entertainment and action that were brought to life through a strong sense of community. Teachers like Lindiwe gave inspirational talks, she told her audience: “Take water from the river to wash your clothes and then you can use the grey water for watering veggies. This is much better than washing directly in the stream.” Puppeteer group Yo! demonstrated through games and songs the value of clean water for people and animals, explaining the water cycle and how fixing dripping taps is very important. The students finished by leading an en-masse rubbish collection across the river banks, “Everyone donned plastic gloves and grabbed rubbish bags and headed into the cold.” One community leader ended the day by saying “There is little doubt that the Enviro Champs have had a big impact in Mpophomeni”. We couldn’t agree more, we think their far-reaching festival is a huge inspiration for Water Explorers world-wide. Luke Wynne, Water Explorer co-creator, adds “Water festivals inspire the momentum of change that Water Explorer brings to communities all over the world. They encourage insight sharing and create collaboration between students, teachers and communities.” Global Action Plan will be welcoming the top Water Explorers from the UK and the rest of the world to London this autumn to celebrate their work from the past year and success in spreading the behaviour change message.