Water Resources Education Center presents weather activities kids will love

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter



If You Go

What: Wondrous Weather Around Us!

When: Jan. 14, 1-3 p.m.

Where: Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way.

Cost: Free.

Information: Call 360-487-7111 or visit http://www.cityofvancouver.us/watercenter.

Just about every kid loves to one-up adults by learning all the complicated scientific names of things like plants or dinosaurs.

But where do budding know-it-alls go from there?

Young scientists in your family might find the answer to that question on Saturday, at the Water Resources Education Center’s “Wondrous Weather All Around Us!” event.

It’s an opportunity for kids to pick up a whole new set of words like “cumulonimbus,” “nimbostratus,” “noctilucent,” “cirrus” and “altostratus.”

(By the way, adults, those are cloud names)

The free event, part of the center’s Second Saturday series, is aimed at kids ages 3 to 12 and includes several hands-on activities.

“It’s an ongoing fun thing that we do here,” said Bev Walker, a water and wetlands educator. “We like to do a lot of make-and-takes for Second Saturdays. So for this one we’ll make rain gauges, rain sticks and wind socks that the kids can take home with them.”

Materials used for the projects will also be provided, so all parents have to do is show up with their kids to participate.

Volunteers will run several stations across the center, where children can learn about different weather topics, such as clouds, wind, rain and snow.

“There’s just a lot to see at the Water Center,” said Marilyn Feddeler, who’s volunteered at events there for about 16 years. “The kids are just so fun to work with and they seem to really enjoy it.”

Feddeler has been saving up things like toilet tissue and paper towel rolls for kids’ projects. She and her husband, Bill, are both retired educators and love spending time teaching youngsters, she said.

Other volunteers have prepared materials for the projects in advance, such as the tubes that kids will use for the rain sticks, Walker said.

“They’re all set so kids can put sand or gravel inside and then decorate them,” she said. “Rain sticks make a sound like rain when you flip them over as rocks slide down through them.”

Wind socks — which are bits of cloth stuck around a circle — let kids see how fast the wind is blowing when placed outside. And rain gauges are tubes that collect rain and let kids measure precipitation.

Visitors can also check out the center’s permanent interactive displays about Vancouver’s water system, local wildlife and fish.

From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, the center will host another event — also for kids and their parents — in celebration of Martin Luther King Day.

“In the past we’ve done beach cleanups and tree plantings for MLK Day,” Walker said. “Because the weather changes a lot we’ll have to wait until right before the event before we decide what we’ll do. Whatever we decide it will be geared toward families and young children can participate.”