Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gila Water Festival Report

Gila Water Festival Report
by Kyle Meredith (Rolling Stones 2nd V.P. for Field Trips)

The 6th Annual Gila Water Festival at the Lichty Center outside Cliff took place about a month later than in past years. That made it very pleasant to set up along the river, without the near-freezing temperatures that we had to endure previously. The redwing blackbirds were still there singing for us as we prepared for the groups of fifth-graders to come learn how to pan for gold throughout the day.

Our first group showed up on schedule at 9:15, and we began our routine as I talked a bit about the history and consequences of gold panning and mining, followed by David Rinsch showing the kids some gold he had found a week earlier. Then Roger Dombrowski talked about the physics and technique of gold-panning before we turned the kids loose with a pan of sand and BBs and a tub of water. Some learned very quickly while others struggled before getting a feel for the method to separate the BBs from the sand, but I think most of them eventually succeeded in accomplishing the task. Undoubtedly they (and we) all had a lot of fun.

I want to thank all the volunteers who showed up. Besides Roger and David, we had Ansel and Shirley Walters, George Skiba, Greg Conlin, and Josh Reeves. We wouldn't have had enough pans and tables if not for Ginger and Ed Coombs, and thanks to Judy Allen and Lee Stockman for the use of their pans, as well.

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