World Water Day Goes to the Mall

Mall visitors learn about floods and erosion using a hands-on river model.
View a photo gallery from the World Water Day 2023 Celebration

For one seven-year-old boy, the best part of the 2023 World Water Day Celebration at the Champlain Centre Mall in Plattsburgh, NY was the free ice cream cone he earned. For an LCBP staffer, the best part was another young boy who exclaimed to his father as he was leaving, “I learned so much today!”

Hundreds of mall visitors on a mid-March Saturday afternoon learned about the Lake Champlain Basin and how they can help take care of it. Nearly all of the 22 participating partner organizations noted that, with the opportunity to reach so many people who might not otherwise learn about their clean water work, the day was a rousing success.

Judging by the responses of these two young people, they deemed the day a winner, too. Visitors who had their activity sheet stamped by seven different exhibitors earned a free ice cream cone. To receive the voucher for the ice cream, they had to answer a question about what they learned from an exhibit or activity.

They got their hands wet using an interactive river model to experiment with rivers systems and erosion, went on quests of the Lake Champlain basin on a giant floor map, explored how scientists use woven art to visualize lake data, made origami fish, and learned how scientific instruments are used to protect the Lake. 

Finn Wellford, a fifth grader at Keene Central School, said, “I liked how they were showing a movie about kayaking Lake Champlain because it helped kids learn more about what we are trying to save. And kids could have fun, too, because it was a free movie and they were giving out free popcorn. Who doesn’t like that?”

The day kicked off with a showing of No Other Lake, an LCBP grant-supported film about one adventurer’s trip kayaking the 120-mile length of the Lake. The film is both a celebration of Lake Champlain’s unique beauty and a reckoning with one of its greatest challenges. On his journey, Jordan Rowell meets a cross section of local people who discuss their relationship with the Lake.

Children were not the only ones who learned. Informal polling of adults suggested that aquatic invasive species was the issue that stood out. They also learned how to protect drinking water supplies by extending the life of their septic systems through proper maintenance, explored new lawn care practices, and learned how invasive round goby pose a threat to the lake ecosystem.

The event, organized by the LCBP, showcased entries into the Champlain Basin Education Initiative’s (CBEI) annual World Water Day contest. World Water Day is a United Nations initiative to draw attention to the issues and threats facing the world’s water resources. CBEI has for ten years hosted a local celebration to share and recognize student art, writing, photography, and videography that explores the Lake Champlain Basin’s waters.

With the support of the Champlain Centre Mall and Regal cinemas, the celebration was brought to Plattsburgh for the first time, with an expanded list of partners and a terrific showing of public participation. 

Exhibitors at 2023 World Water Day celebration at the Champlain Centre Mall included:

  • Adirondack Watershed Institute
  • Ausable River Association
  • Boquet River Association
  • Champlain Adirondack Biosphere Network
  • Champlain Watershed Improvement Coalition Of New York
  • Clinton County Health Department
  • Clinton County Historical Association
  • Clinton County Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension 4H
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition
  • Essex County Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Friends of the Saranac River Trail
  • Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
  • Lake Champlain Sea Grant
  • NY Citizen Advisory Committee
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Point Au Roche Nature Center
  • SUNY Plattsburgh – Center for Earth & Environmental Science
  • Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District
  • William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute

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