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World Water Day Celebration Wraps Up

The World Water Day Celebration has concluded on the campus of Michigan Tech, wrapping up with a presentation of three informative films yesterday afternoon, encouraging students to go forth and filtrate.

From a series of activities including a lecture, discussions, art displays and a few films, students are walking away from the three day celebration with some newly acquired knowledge of how natural filtration can help protect our water supply.

“A lot of native people have been standing up for the protection of water. Those fights that indigenous people are doing are not just for native people. I mean it’s for everybody. We all use water and it should be a universal right to have access to clean water and we shouldn’t have to fight for that. Water is life,” said Jerry Jondreau, Director of Recruitment, MTU School of Forestry and an active member for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, who produced one of three films shown to students yesterday afternoon.

“This is our last event and we’re talking about the nature based solutions to water,” said Katie Closner, a student who presented her film that promotes the use of rain gardens that divert run off water and absorb acquired contamination that would otherwise find its way into our lakes and water ways.

Closner said, “Definitely what we see in Houghton and Hancock, we see all that storm water and spring melt run into the Portage. There’s a lot of other contaminates that are carried with that water. So it’s nice to have a little filtration to make sure that some of those things, like oil or spills that have occurred on the pavement, are filtered before we see all of that inside the Portage.”

Jeffery Kiiskila displayed his film that takes a different approach, and shows viewers how to construct a floating garden using pop bottles and home improvement supplies, such as lattice fencing and PVC pipes.

Jeffery says that with the right plants, these gardens will absorb excess nitrates in a body of water that can be harmful to aquatic habitats like fish and amphibians.

Kiiskila said, “Typically we’re looking at plants that can grow in hydroponic environments, so any kind of plant that can root itself in water without actually dying off. Two most common ones would be Typha, which is essentially like cat tails, and Phragmitis, which is a common reed.

Closner said, “So it’s really interesting to see that there’s so many people working on water resources here in the Keweenaw Peninsula and so many people coming up with these new and exciting designs that are going to carry us forward into the future.”

World Water Day was celebrated globally last week as a one day event, but postponed until this week at MTU to allow for a more intensive learning experience over the three day period.

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