EPISD students visited the TecH2O Center and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant this week to learn about the importance of water conservation as part of the two-week Ecosystems camp.
Students are encouraged to investigate the world around them to learn about how animals and plants interact in their environment. The camp, which is part of EPISD’s Summer Enrichment Program, catered to third- and fifth-grade students.
“We are teaching them about ecosystems. It’s a lot of hands-on, project-based learning,” Moreno Elementary teacher Jackie Turner said. “It’s important because it encompasses all the life sciences so they are learned about life cycles and habitats.”
“I like this place. They taught us how to save water, like taking short showers instead of baths,” student Olivia Guzman said. “In our ecosystem we don’t get a lot of water. It’s really dry, so we have to do what we can to help.”
The students got an up close and personal look at the largest inland desalination plant in the United States to learn about the process of removing salt and minerals from water to make it suitable for human consumption.
“They are learning to see how we get our water in the Chihuahuan Desert, whether it is from an underground source, surface water from the Rio Grande, as well as the process of desalination to make the water potable,” TecH2O volunteer Jim Rodgers said.
After touring the facility the students had the opportunity to be researchers with a hands-on activity to “test” water samples and detect vertebrates.
For fifth-grader Jesus Rodriguez this is his first time participating in a summer enrichment program, but he is happy he joined.
“It’s cool because we learned a lot of stuff, and I’ve made a lot of friends,” Jesus said. “They showed us how water is really important to humans, plants and animals.”
Summer enrichment camps like this are important because they promote learning outside of the classroom.
“They have been having so much fun,” Turner said. “We get feedback at the end of each day, and one thing they always say is that they learn a lot.”