Nebraska Children's Groundwater Festival to Host 17 Schools

Nebraska Children's Groundwater Festival to Host 17 Schools


GRAND ISLAND, Nebraska - Central Platte Natural Resources District is excited to host thirty-six school groups from across the state for the Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at the Central Community College and College Park campuses in Grand Island. 780 fifth-grade students from 17 schools will learn about all aspects of groundwater and its importance to Nebraska by attending six in-depth activities in a classroom-style setting and a stage show.

The event is possible with 100 water and natural resources presenters, and 120 volunteers. Alyssa Bair will bring members of Barr Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society to assist as classroom guides and Dr. Lauren Schumacher, Academy/Pathway Teacher, will bring 30 Grand Island Senior High students to assist presenters.


There is a lot to see at this educational event. Schools arrive and depart on different schedules. There are 2 stage shows and 30 classroom activities. These 25-minute classroom-style presentations are held at both campuses with up to 32 students per session. You are welcome to visit any of the classrooms while they are in session.


All activities will take place from 8:45 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. throughout both campuses and eight activities will take place outside.  Lunch is provided at no cost to all attendees in the outside tent.


Media Packets will be available at the registration areas at both CCC and College Park campuses. Packets will include a program, maps of the campuses, and a lunch ticket.

If you‘re interested in receiving specific school schedules or presenter schedules, contact Marcia Lee or Brody Vorderstrasse at (308) 385-6282 or email lee [at] or brody [at]  DAY OF EVENT: Marcia (308) 380-1220, Brody (402) 469-9319 


  • Bryan Elementary (3 classes)- Lexington
  • Central Valley Public Schools- Greeley
  • Dodge Elementary (2 classes)- Grand Island
  • Engleman Elementary (4 classes)- Grand Island
  • Hitchcock County Elementary- Hitchcock
  • Humphrey St. Francis- Humphrey
  • New Hope Christian School- Cairo
  • Pershing Elementary (9 classes)- Lexington
  • Red Cloud Community Schools- Red Cloud
  • Seedling Mile Elementary- Grand Island
  • St. Paul Elementary- St. Paul
  • St. Joseph Catholic Elementary- Atkinson
  • St. Anthony School- Columbus
  • Shell Creek Elementary (2 classes)- Columbus
  • Superior Elementary (2 classes)- Superior
  • Sandy Creek Elementary- Cairo
  • Shoemaker Elementary (3 classes)- Grand Island

Two stage shows are entertaining and interactive, with a high level of energy. Up to 300 students/session:

  • Interactive Theatrical Presentation: Groundwater (CP Auditorium): Fax Gilbert performs skills of mime, magic, masks and comedy to teach and inspire students about groundwater.
  • The Raptor Connection (CCC 355-Cafeteria) Raptor Conservation Alliance: Students meet live raptors up close and learn how raptors are dependent upon groundwater and surface water for food, shelter and nesting.

30 interactive activities. These 25-minute classroom-style presentations are held at both campuses with up to 32 students per session. Along with favorite activities from the past, the following are new activities and/or presenters:

  • Building Floodplain Town (CCC 251) NeDNR – Nebraska Dept. of Natural Resources: Learn benefits of floodplains (recreation, wildlife habitat, recharge) & experience how to manage them.
  • Enviroscape: Stormwater (CCC 253) City of Grand Island/Kearney: See how easy behaviors & practices can make a big impact on our environment to reduce pollution.
  • Incredible Journey/Blue Planet (CCC 260) Nebraska Forest Service: Estimate the % of Earth’s surface covered by water by tossing an inflatable globe & check probability by rolling dice.
  • Preserving Grasslands (CP North Parking Lot) Central Platte NRD: Learn challenges facing Nebraska’s grasslands & habitat. See equipment used for wildfire and prescribed burning.
  • Renewable Grid Simulator (CP 201/202) Nebraska Public Power District: Use hand-crafted generators to learn how water is used as a cooling source to generate electricity.
  • There’s No New Water (CCC 525) Nebraska Extension: Learn how many users need groundwater and the importance of conserving the resources that we have.
  • Understanding Pollutant Transport/Water Quality Impacts (CCC 313 to Outdoor) Nebraska Dept of Environment & Energy: See a rainfall simulator and groundwater models in action to learn infiltration vs various landcover characteristics.
  • Water Cycle in a Cup! (CCC 457 to Outdoor) Stuhr Museum: Create a water cycle in a cup and add a seed for plant growth.
  • Water For All Users (CP 207/208) Lower Niobrara NRD: Analyze 8 water users and determine how climate change will impact the community.
  • Water Rockets (CP 203/204) Grand Island Groundwater Guardian Team: Use water and compressed air to build a water rocket. Learn about Grand Island’s water system, then launch your rocket!
  • We All Live in a Watershed (CP Multipurpose Room) Lower Loup NRD: Scenario: You have $5 million to build and develop riverside land however you want. Learn how everyone affects the watershed that they live in.
  • What Makes Up Your Water? (CCC North Parking Lot) Raising Nebraska & UNL Mobile Science Lab: Enjoy the Lab’s science classroom & agricultural science curriculum.


Since 1988, the Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival has supplemented groundwater education that students receive through their school curriculum by providing an event where professionals teach hundreds of students in one day. Over 31,000 students have been educated at the Festival.
This event was the first groundwater festival to be formed nationally.  The Nebraska Children‘s Groundwater Festival has been replicated in 42 states in the U.S.A., Mexico, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom.


Central Platte NRD is the main sponsor by providing $10,000 in financial support and two staff members that coordinate the event. These additional sponsorships allow schools/students to attend the festival at no cost. 

Main Sponsor ($10,000)

  • Central Platte Natural Resources District

Awesome Aquifer Adventurer ($4,000 - $1,000)

  • City of Grand Island
  • Fred Otradovsky
  • Hornady Manufacturing Company
  • JEO Consulting Group Inc
  • Southern Public Power District
  • Senninger

Legendary Lake League ($999 - $500)

  • Lower Loup Natural Resources District

Babbling Brook Benefactor ($499 - $250)

  • Copycat Printing and Signs       
  • Coca-Cola of Grand Island
  • Grand Island/Hall County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Pepsi Beverages Company – Grand Island

Supreme Springwater Supporter ($249 - $100)

  • Agricultural Services Inc
  • CHI Health St. Francis
  • Donna Wanitschke
  • Equitable Bank
  • NEDELCO Inc/DBA Hamilton Communications
  • Upper Loup Natural Resources District
  • Walmart North – Grand Island
  • Wenzl Construction

Festival Friend ($99 - $35)

  • Roger and Julie Frandsen
  • Lee’s Family Restaurant
  • Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District
  • Super Saver – Grand Island Second Street