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Exhibits and activities were directed at informing and educating the public about the importance of the river, not only as Tampa's primary potable-water source but also as a unique ecosystem, greenway, and wildlife corridor. Sponsorship is provided by the Hillsborough River Greenways Task Force, a public/private partnership between individuals, corporations, agencies, and organizations with the goal of providing a forum, advocating science-based positions, and advancing initiatives to protect and enhance the ecologic integrity of the Upper Hillsborough River Watershed.
Many local citizens and families attended "A River Runs Through It," where they were invited to take free canoe tours of the Hillsborough River, participate in Nature Walks, be trained as Frog Listening Network Volunteers, and peruse many exhibits on environmental science and water-resource conservation.
Jeff Dismukes and Kate Ciembronowicz from the CCRMS exhibited an interactive demonstration of aquifer geology in Florida, highlighting ground-water-contamination risks.
Helping behind the scenes were Pete Swarzenski, Pat Mullan, Sandy Coffman, and Cindee Politano. Jeff noted that the demo, developed jointly for use by both the CCRMS and the USGS' Water Resources office in Tampa, FL, was a crowd pleaser for young and old alike.
"It was amazing how many parents, and even young children, seemed to gain a real appreciation for Florida geology and an understanding of how our drinking water can be affected by improper disposal of contaminants. The kids were intrigued by how the water flowed and how quickly the food coloring (contaminant) spread through the ground and into the wells."
Kate and Jeff also reported many requests for posters and other printed material from several local educators in attendance. The USGS even received a special plug from the musical performer at the event, who was, himself, a former USGS employee. (Maybe there really is life after science!) Overall, the public expressed a great deal of appreciation for the USGS involvement in this event.
in this issue:
Florida's Hillsborough River
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