A new exhibit coming to the Forest Preserve District of Will County highlights the importance of fresh water in our daily lives – and for the planet at large.
“H2-WHOA!” opens April 2 and runs through June 30 at Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township. This free interactive offering will teach visitors about what lies below the surface of their local water resources.
“Fresh water affects everyone everywhere,” said Kate Caldwell, an interpretive naturalist for the District. “We want to educate the public about the importance of fresh water. We want to show people that keeping fresh water available to us and all life on the planet can’t happen without us.”
The exhibit features a 10-foot fabric dome visitors can walk through to learn how flora and fauna, such as fresh water mussels and lichens, serve as indicator species. A hands-on, interactive station demonstrates how pollution and sediment have negative effects on fish and other animals. Visitors also will learn how to contribute to water conservation efforts and will be encouraged to “Take the Pledge” to protect local water resources.
“We want to show people that keeping fresh water available to all life on the planet can’t happen without us,” Caldwell said.
Those who visit “H2-WHOA!” will be invited to plunge into the particulars of a real water habitat – Snapper Pond – located near Plum Creek Nature Center in Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.
“Snapper Pond will literally make the exhibit come alive,” Caldwell said. “We will show visitors that Goodenow Grove’s forest, wetlands and prairie are a necessity to keep Snapper Pond’s fresh water clean. They will see it firsthand by observing and exploring the rich diversity of life that lives beneath and on the surface of the pond including: crayfish, dragonflies, snails, caddisflies, fairy shrimp, water boatman, backswimmers, water striders, crawling water beetles, whirligig beetles, damselfly larvae, tadpoles, bluegills and more.”
Two exhibit-related programs have been scheduled at Plum Creek on Thursday, April 11: "H2-Whoa! Exploration Homeschool Day," 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (register by Tuesday, April 9, 708.946.2216) and "Earth Day Safari," 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (no registration required). A third program, “H2-WHOA!: Explore!,” will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the nature center (no registration required). Visitors also will be encouraged to hike the Snapper Pond Trail and view the site's “snapshot of Snapper Pond” fish tank.
The exhibit was organized by the Purdue Agriculture Exhibit Design Center, Purdue University, and is brought to the Forest Preserve through funding provided by The Nature Foundation of Will County.
The free, all-ages exhibit will be on display 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and noon-4 p.m. Sundays. Plum Creek Nature Center is closed Mondays. Registration is not required to view the exhibit.
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