Waters Introduces STREAM, Featuring Dragonflies and Butterflies

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The Arizona SciTech Festival is thrilled to promote Dragonfly Day at Rio Salado, which is all about bringing communities, artists, and wildlife experts together to explore what the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area has to offer. Summer Waters, Water Resources Extension Agent, at the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, says, “I am excited that U of A and Cooperative Extension in particular are getting more involved with the Festival this year. We have a similar vision of providing engaging hands-on learning experiences that promote a better understanding of how science is part of our everyday lives, not just something that takes place in a laboratory.”

Artwork is part of this STEAM event, with Master Watershed Stewards “playing the major role in organizing this event,” according to Waters. “The artists at the event have work that celebrates nature. In addition, some artists work with a variety of different mediums that require some scientific knowledge. For example…there is definitely a science to knowing how to work with metal: how to heat it, how flexible the different alloys are, what you can wear next to your skin. Another artist paints gourds; it exemplifies how humans can work with natural elements to create something that is beautiful.”

As for the insect event title, Waters says, “Dragonflies are interesting; they have both scientific and artistic significance. From a scientific perspective, they are indicator species. I call them the “wolves” of aquatic insect ecosystems. They are actually rather ferocious predators; they eat other insects! Much like how we can trace large scale ecosystem imbalances on land to the loss of top predators like wolves, dragonflies tell us something about aquatic ecosystems.”

“I believe that our connection to nature is an essential part of living a healthy life and having a strong community,” continues Waters. “A natural aquatic ecosystem in the midst of our urban lives should be celebrated and enjoyed!” Waters hopes that the AZ SciTech Fest will draw “awareness to the restoration area, and then taking it a step further by engaging children and adults in scientific and artistic activities.”

By the way, she adds with a smile, “Our Parks and Rec folks added Recreation and came up with STREAM.” 

 

By Kitty Carlisle: K.Carlisle.Writer@gmail.com at grammaticalactivist.com

photo credit to Anne Stahley

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