By Jeff Cole, Conservation Outreach Coordinator
With its goal to help connect elementary school students with the natural world, Be Outside Day is my favorite of the events Idaho Rivers United participates in each year. IRU and other Boise-based conservation groups help teach students about topics including water conservation and appreciating biological and human diversity.
Students who belong to Timberline High’s Teens Restoring Earth’s Environment (TREE) club coordinate the annual event with their advisor Dick Jordan, and the event is held at Barber Park. Students are broken into groups led by a TREE club member through a series of stations and booths hosted by environmental groups.
At the IRU station at this year’s Be Outside Day students learned about water conservation. They collected drips in beakers from our simulated leaky faucet for one minute and then expanded their measurements using basic mathematics to discover how much water is wasted by a slow drip over a month’s time. The students discovered that from a slow drip hundreds of gallons of water are wasted every month though leaky kitchen and bathroom fixtures.
The astonished and enlightened looks on children’s faces as they connected the dots from the Boise River to their leaky faucets at home were priceless. Passing along a legacy of conservation and appreciation for nature is why I came to work at IRU in the first place. Every Outside Day I feel like I pass that legacy on in large proportions.