Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

July 19, 2013

Rainfall simulator attracts visitors at the 4-H Expo

By CINDY TOOPES Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — Kids and adults alike couldn’t walk by the Iowa Learning Farms display Thursday afternoon outside Bridge View Center.

The display and workers were part of Iowa Learning Farms’ effort to show kids what happens when rain lands on various types of soil or pavement.

Patrick Kelly, an intern with Iowa Learning Farms/Water Rocks, told his audience that pavers that are pervious are more helpful in getting water to go where it should. Flooding is the wrong place.

“The rainfall simulator shows what happens when rain lands on various types of soil,” Kelly said.

His table outside Bridge View Center was set up with a model city, and the kids could track the path of water and debris that shouldn’t go into drinking water. City residents could use pervious pavers that are porous and let water trickle down into the soil rather than running off.

Reese Jones of Ottumwa was having fun with the toy rainfall simulator set up outside Bridge View Center. Jones pointed to a toy city set up on a table. The toy buildings and farms demonstrated what happens to the soil as water flowed to the “toy river.” All the water is connected whether it’s a lake or a river.

Kelly showed Jones some samples of soil that was dirty. He also pointed out water with tillage in it.

“Don’t use pesticide or fertilizer near water sources,” he said. “Also, cultivate grass and other plants that will help keep the soil here. This will keep water clean, and it’s another good way to conserve our water.”

Liz Juchems of Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks in Ames spoke with several adults and children who stopped by the Conservation Station near the Bridge View Center door.

“I grew up in northeast Iowa and was the first farmer intern at ISU,” she said.

Juchems said she enjoyed showing children what happens when rain lands on various types of soil and other surfaces.

“There’s either runoff or infiltration,” she added.