On Wednesday morning, fourth graders across Tucson Unified School District were treated to a day of hands-on learning that focused on Arizona’s water system.

At Udall Park on the Eastside, the University of Arizonas Project Wet held its 2024 Water Festival.

The event provides an experiential learning experience to teach TUSD students how we use our water and how to conserve it.

For ten years, UA and Tucson Water have partnered to hold several festivals in order to connect with school curriculum and create a new generation of water-smart Tucsonans. Students rotate through a series of stations, covering topics such as water conservation, the watershed and the technology involved to bring Colorado River water to Tucson.

Jaimie Galayda, lead planner at Tucson Water, says the lessons from past Water Festivals go beyond the classroom.

It really helps reduce our communitys overall water use, Galayda says. We have whole generations of people that know how to use water wisely and it just helps the teachers as well reinforce whats going on in the classroom.

The festival is a culmination of a unit of study that TUSD students have engaged in throughout the year. After the festivals close, students will also be exposed to additional lessons that follow-up on the knowledge they gained at the festival.

Lisa Townsend, one of the organizers of the event, says that the hands-on lessons have an outsize impact on student learning, where they connect the classroom with the real world.

They want to learn more, Townsend says. Theyre going to be more conscientious and theyre going to be motivated to act in the best interest in themselves and their community.

The Udall event is just one of three water festivals held in the area by Project Wet this school year. Overall, 37 water festivals will be held this year across the state of Arizona, gearing its lessons to the specific areas where they present. The next Water Festival takes place in Globe.

Next year, Project Wet will also roll out water-based experiential learning experiences at middle schools across Tucson.