Students learn about canoeing and boat safety at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center’s Water Festival. NGRREC file photo.

EAST ALTON - Lewis and Clark Community College and its National Great Rivers Research and Education Center will host the 21st Annual Water Festival, Sept. 29.

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More than 800 fifth graders will enjoy a water science field day, the largest festival to date, on L&C’s Godfrey Campus.

“The response to our invitation to schools is overwhelming,” said Jennifer Mandeville, Interim Director of Education at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC). “The Water Festival immerses students in freshwater science with an active curriculum that continues when they return to their classrooms.

Water Festival costs $50 per student. Her team has been raising funds since April but needs more to meet the demand.

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“We don’t want to turn any students away,” Mandeville said. “My team is so grateful to our major sponsors, Phillips66-Wood River Refinery, Illinois American Water, Godfrey Walmart and Enbridge Energy Services. We are also grateful to the many businesses in communities from East Alton to Greenville who responded to our appeal to help send their local fifth graders to Water Festival.”

Donations of $50 will cover a single student’s attendance, $1000 a whole class’s attendance, and $3000 an entire school’s attendance. Sign up to donate at or contact Mandeville at or (618) 468-2790.

To learn more about Water Festival and hear stories from past volunteers, attend NGRREC’s Water Festival Kickoff Neighbor Night, at the Jerry F. Costello Field Station in East Alton, Sept 19 at 6 p.m.

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC)

NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them, facilitating the efficient implementation of science into policy and to practice. Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, the center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities.

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