Jun 09

Ayres Associates Works with Kids at the Children’s Water Festival in Fort Collins, CO



Staff from Ayres Associates recently had the opportunity to do a series of presentations at the Children’s Water Festival in Fort Collins, CO.  The 26th annual festival is an opportunity for professionals from a wide range of water related professions to come together and educate over 1,800 third graders on the importance of water through a wide range of topics. These topics range from learning about pollution, aquatic wildlife, water resources, supply and conservation, water chemisty and much more.

WaterFest2Ayres Associates Geospatial Project Manager, Jim Kelly, teamed up with the City of Fort Collins Water Field Operations Special Projects Manager, Andrew Gingerich, for a presentation titled Water Quest.  In the presentation, Jim and Andrew taught kids about the importance of having access to clean water, where Fort Collins water comes from and how it’s distributed throughout the City.  Key to the presentation were the maps and aerial imagery used by the City to track, maintain and design the over 560 linear miles water distribution system beneath the streets of Fort Collins.

Using interactive maps with aerial imagery, the presentation showed kids where the headwaters of Fort Collins water sources originate and then followed a path through the series of rivers, tunnels and reservoirs used to transfer the water across the continental divide to the City’s water production facility.  The kids were then able to view the sprawling water distribution network on a map while Andrew discussed the tremendous effort involved in designing and maintaining the water system in order for the kids to get clean water every day.WaterFest

Watching the reaction of the children as they slowly realized that water doesn’t just appear when they turn on the faucet is truly an amazing experience.  Being able to visually follow the maps showing them how far the water travels and how vast the pipe network below the streets literally opened their eyes and allowed them to understand how important clean water is and how lucky we are to have such easy access to it.

Opportunities to work with our local community and teach kids about the importance of clean water and map technology is one of the more rewarding aspects to working at Ayres Associates.  It’s easy to get consumed with the day to day workflows of what we do and having the opportunity to teach kids and watch their faces smile in awe of water systems and mapping technology is something we don’t get to do enough.


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