Wet activities abound at annual ‘Aquifer Adventure’

See scallywags learning about the importance of Portland’s groundwater system – at this fun pirate-themed event, held in outer East Portland …

Volunteers Marleta “Scurvy-eyed Marrrrrleta” Sullivan, Emily “Cat-o-nine-tails” Cafaro, as well as “Capn’ Dagger Dana” Klein Hesselink – Volunteer Coordinator for the Columbia Slough Watershed Council – here are welcoming guests to “Aquifer Adventure 2010”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The idea behind the annual “Aquifer Adventure”, put on jointly by the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council (CSWC), is to acquaint people with water.

We’re not talking about the pouring rain that fell during most of the event, mind you – but the City’s alternate source of drinking water:  Groundwater.

“We teach kids and their parents about the importance of our groundwater in a fun way,” smiled CSWC’s volunteer coordinator, “Capn’ Dagger Dana”, Klein Hesselink. “Every year we provide many different educational activities. And yes, we’ve had a pretty good turnout, considering that it’s really been raining.”

Undaunted by the water from above, “Capt. Jane Sparrow” (a/k/a Jane Van Dyke, Executive Director, CSWC and “Cap’n ‘Parrot-got-me-eye’ Rebecca” (a/k/a Rebecca Geisen, Underground Water Protection Program, Portland Water Bureau) both say they look forward to the annual Aquifer Adventure.

CSWC’s executive director, Jane Van Dyke, was all smiles, even a an inch of rain poured down during the September 18 event. “The best part is seeing all the kids coming dressed in pirate costume,” Van Dyke told us.

“People really enjoy getting dressed up for this is one of our major, public events,” Van Dyke pointed out. “By the reception we receive, we think we’ve come upon a fun way to give good information about protecting our aquifer.”

Rowan Clark, and his dad Matt, duck into a booth and learn about groundwater around the world.

With Van Dyke was PWB’s Underground Water Protection Program maven, Rebecca Geisen,who reframed the weather: “Rain? We prefer to think of it as a natural, safe recharging of our groundwater supply!”

Rain or shine, Geisen added, “At this event, we take on the topic of protecting groundwater – something that is difficult to see and understand – and make it fun and understandable for both kids and adults.”

“Captain Nathaniel Neptune” (Nathaniel Talbot, from CSWC) greets visitors on the Slough trail.

Missing at this year’s event, we learned from Geisen, were the pirate-guided canoe rides on the slough. “Our canoe dock, gazebo, and signage has also fallen victim to heavy vandalism in recent months. The Portland Water Bureau is currently reviewing different options for the launch at 16650 NE Airport Way.”

> To learn more about Portland’s groundwater system, see PWB’s website: CLICK HERE.

> And, to discover more about the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

The September 18th rainstorm doesn’t keep hearty, hardy families from touring the Aquifer Adventure booths.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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