The Essence of Life
By Octavio Serrano
Traveling exhibit educates guests on the importance of water sustainability
For a state depending on a healthy flow of water, Arizona, along with its residents, often forget the importance of it.
“A lot of people don’t realize how scarce water is,” says Ann Hutchinson, co-chairwoman of the Black Canyon Heritage Park in New River.
“So many people have moved here from wetter states. There’s very few of our rivers and washes flowing all the time. Most of them flow when it’s raining and that’s about it.”
Thanks to Black Canyon Heritage Park, Canon Elementary School is exhibiting Water/Ways, a traveling Smithsonian Institute exhibit educating guests on the importance of water, its effects and its sources from Saturday, December 14, to Sunday, January 26.
“It covers all the facets of water culturally, for work, for employment, scientifically, it covers the way water affects all our lives on a national level,” Hutchinson says.
New River Group President Barbara Chatzkel says Arizona Humanities and ASU came together and asked the Smithsonian Institute to bring the Water/Ways to Arizona. Of course, New River wanted to be a part of this educational experience.
“They usually only give a state six cities, but Arizona wanted 12 sites because water is such a key component of our life,” says Chatzkel, whose organization is a management consulting firm.
The other cities are Fort Apache, Miami, Florence, Sierra Vista, Dragoon, Winkleman, Page, Camp Verde, Tubac and Lake Havasu City.
The exhibit will have five two-sided panels, which Hutchinson says take up roughly 700 feet and include interactive components covering topics like the fluidity of water and its power. In addition, guests can use three kiosks to learn more aspects of water.
“It is a simulator in which you put in some variable and learn how you’ll deal with groundwater and then you run the model to see the effect,” Hutchinson says.
Other activities will include short films about water—5 to 6 p.m. December 27, January 3 and January 23, the latter of which is for youth. All these components are meant to provide an informative and interactive source of educational information, so people learn why water is important and how to preserve it in their day-to-day lives.
“The overarching goal of the exhibit is we want people to think about water and the ways it affects us and can affect us if it’s gone,” Chatzkel says. “We want people to become better stewards of protecting and conserving our water.”
“The riparian areas in Arizona are less than .4% and we’ve lost almost all the riparian areas, so it’s important people understand the role they carry,” Hutchinson says.
“No matter what you do in life, there’s water. In Arizona, there’s so much pressure on the water you don’t know where the support for this incoming population is coming from, but there’s lots of things people can do to help to be more sustainable.”
Water is not only a vital resource for Arizona but for the nation. In the state, however, it has a strong history and many of its ecosystems depend on it. For them to continue to flourish, the population surrounding those areas need to be conscious of its scarcity and how they can diminish waste in their daily lives.
Water/Ways brings it all together. History, science and sustainability. Everything encompassing the world of water is displayed in one exhibit where guests can use as a guide to a better way of utilizing the resources their state grants them.
“It takes a community to ensure that our water is sustainable,” Hutchinson says. “If you look at all the contributors to the local exhibit, there are a lot of organizations and individuals that think that this is important.”
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.