The Source: Learning to Read Water

Jun 26, 2015

Credit Ryan Cunningham

For something so elemental, natural, essential and seemingly basic, there’s as much complexity to water as you’re willing to chase. From hydrology and fluid dynamics to understanding aquatic habitats to learning to swim or xeriscape your yard, there’s a lot to learn about water.

This week on The Source we’re talking about education and water. From swiftwater rescue classes to a day at the aquarium, we’ll meet unique teachers and students who specialize in aspects of water you might not have ever thought about.

Part 1 - Swim Lessons
We all have to be taught how to read water just like we have to be taught how to read books or how to swim. Some people get really really good at reading water. My friend Jeff Hazboun is an expert whitewater kayaker. He’s paddled all over the world and he knows so much about what to do in a river that he teaches other people what to do in a river, which isn't an easy task. I called up Jeff and asked him about his role as an instructor with the Swiftwater Safety Institute.

Part 2 - How Slow Can You Go?
Different states have different approaches to teaching, incentivizing, coaxing or even forcing residents to change their water use habits. What works? TV commercials? Outrageously expensive water bills? The Source’s Ross Chambless has this story about Utah’s efforts to Slow the Flow.

Gentoo penguins have an unlikely desert home at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper, Utah.
Credit Ryan Cunningham

Part 3 - Sharks in the Desert

Slow The Flow educates the public about better water usage. This next story is about educating the public by using water—and a lot of it. Five hundred fifty thousand gallons, to be exact. That’s how much water is contained at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper, Utah, a massive facility that celebrated its grand opening last year. The Aquarium is home to roughly five thousand aquatic and avian creatures, from stingrays and sea turtles to penguins and river otters. We sent Source producer Ryan Cunningham to the Aquarium to find out how—and why—Living Planet has brought sharks to the second-driest state in the nation.

Part 4 - Taking Learning Outdoors

The Taking Learning Outdoors Workshop at the Ogden Nature Center in March 2015 trained K - 12 teachers.

The Natural History Museum of Utah tells a story through its architecture, and its placement right at the Bonneville shoreline trail reminds us that this place used to be underwater. The museum is home to displays that show how important water is to shaping the land and the cultural history of the state. Kerry Bringhurst talked to a variety of people working at the museum about their role in telling the story of water in Utah both inside the walls of the museum and programs that take that learning outdoors.

Support for The Source and related news stories comes from iUTAH.