Aqua Chatauqua returning to Dunton Locks Thursday

Last August, a group of about a half dozen conservation and education-minded groups from the lakes area joined forces to host the first Detroit Lakes Aqua Chatauqua at Dunton Locks County Park.

Members of the Big Stone County 4-H Aquatic Robotics team explained to a 2018 Aqua Chautauqua visitor how their underwater robot, the SeaPerch, operates underwater to detect aquatic invasive species and other bits of water quality information. The team will be returning for the 2019 Aqua Chatauqua this Thursday, Aug. 15. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

Members of the Big Stone County 4-H Aquatic Robotics team explained to a 2018 Aqua Chautauqua visitor how their underwater robot, the SeaPerch, operates underwater to detect aquatic invasive species and other bits of water quality information. The team will be returning for the 2019 Aqua Chatauqua this Thursday, Aug. 15. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)

The water-themed festival returns to Dunton Locks Thursday, Aug. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Volunteers from the University of Minnesota Extension Water Resources Center, Pelican River Watershed District, Becker County Museum, Becker County 4-H, Becker County Environmental Services, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Becker and East Otter Tail County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), PartnerSHIP 4 Health, Detroit Lakes Public Library and Becker County Sheriff's Department Dive & Rescue Team will be hosting 22 different fun and educational learning stations during the event.

"It's all about water — all aspects of water," said UM Extension educator Karen Terry, from science and technology to its history and all the different recreational activities that take place on the water. "This year our focus will once again be on the Otter Tail River Watershed."

Some of the more unique learning stations include a "tailgate aquarium" provided by the DNR, which includes live fish; an art activity hosted by Becker County 4-H that focuses on learning how to create "gyotaku," a form of Japanese art that involves the use of either real or rubber fish; and a history exhibit from the Becker County Museum that focuses on "Fishin' Memories."

Other activities include learning about shoreland restoration and protection as well as how to use tools for measuring water clarity; identifying various types of macroinvertebrates (i.e., water bugs) and aquatic invasive species (AIS); and a demonstration by the 4-H Aquatic Robotics team from Big Stone County, who were also at last year's festival, teaching attendees about how they build and use small robots for use underwater, to map out the locations and infestation levels of various types of AIS in local water bodies.

"Some of our stations were here last year, and some are entirely new," Terry said. 

For full article, go to: DLOnline

Source, image(s), credits & more: DLOnline | Vicki Gerdes