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VBS students wowed by pollution demonstration

Education, Environmental, Outreach, Sound Rivers, Stormwater, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Water Quality

Posted on July 27th, 2023

Program Director Clay Barber's lesson on water quality ended with muddied waters.

Sound Rivers Program Director Clay Barber gave a lesson in water quality to Vacation Bible School students this week, and it was one they’ll remember.

It started with “Once upon a time there was a beautiful estuary,” and a container of clean, clear water.

As the story continued and the history of how pollution enters our waterways was told, each child was invited to pour their individual cups of “pollution” into the clean water — pollution sourced from Clay’s house and yard.

“Ingredients were sand, potting soil, crushed seashells, hay, coffee grounds and food scraps, toilet paper, fishing line, bits of plastic and cardboard, baking soda, vinegar, dish soap, vinegar and vegetable oil,” Clay said.

As more “pollution” was added, the clean water became … not so clean.

“We had some pretty consistent responses at the end — they were totally grossed out! And very aware that everyone dirtied the water up, so everyone should help clean up and keep it clean. Dumping the water was its own lesson. We were right next to a storm drain so we talked about appropriate places to dispose of dirty water which, of course, is NOT in a storm drain,” Clay laughed.

Clay said the 40-plus children, a few parents and the helpers at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s Vacation Bible School in Greenville learned a simple, effective lesson about water quality and why it’s so very important.

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