Peoria’s Clean Water Celebration April 18 – 19

by Tyler Maritote

The Peoria Riverfront is going to be flooded with students, adults and water from all over.

This year’s Clean Water Celebration, a joint project of the Sun Foundation and the Rivers Project with many local sponsors, is set to float into town April 18th and 19th with the traditional “Parade of Waters” as the opening ceremony, presented around the theme Wildlife and Water.

All participants are, as always, encouraged to bring a small container full of water from their community for the parade.

“They are going to be mixed together,” Chairwoman Karen Zuckerman said, “to symbolize that it’s basically one water source. That water will mix with the Illinois River, which will lead into the Mississippi, which will lead into the ocean. After all the Earth is mostly water.”

The parade will begin on the Riverfront at the Gateway Building Fountain at noon on Sunday, April 18th. There will also be, as always, a Native American Blessing of the waters.

At 1:00 p.m. there will be a river walk on the Riverfront Walking Trail with learning stations, scientists’ insight, Native American storytellers and more. You can also take part in fishing, water critter identification and water quality tests.

The keynote address will begin at 6:30 p.m. This year’s speaker, and with no pun intended, will be Dr. Rainy I. Shorey, a geneticist, biologist and the Environmental Manager at Caterpillar, Mossville Engine Center. The lecture costs $10 for students/ $20 for adults. A lecture-only ticket will be $10 as well.

Reservations for the keynote address are required and those wishing to attend should call 309-246-8403 or e-mail info@sunfoundation.org.

The celebration will continue April 19th with an emphasis on educating local students.

“We want to engage students in knowledge about water quality,” Zuckerman said. “And hopefully they will find out ways they can help.”

Zuckerman is already expecting upwards of 1500 students from as far away as La Salle and including almost all surrounding counties so anyone interested in taking a field trip should email Zuckerman at: kzuckerm@comcast.net.

“By attending you would not only learn about how we affect water quality,” Zuckerman said. “You would also be able to connect with people that can help you to help make a difference.”

Zuckerman added that just picking up a piece of garbage off the ground can help change water quality.

“We aren’t directly connected to water and don’t realize the effect we have on water,” she said. “What we do for the green we do for the blue.”

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