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Clinton Township — Macomb Community College became the educational playground Tuesday for more than 1,600 fourth- and fifth-grade students.

Students from public and private school districts such as Warren and Roseville learned about using and preserving the Lake St. Clair Watershed.

The 8th annual Lake St. Clair Water Festival provided hands-on activities for students with more than 30 learning opportunities, including a chance to meet farm animals, an interactive water quiz and a race to keep water out of storm drains.

"It is a lot of work, but it is worth it," festival organizer Meghan Mott said.

For 9-year-old Taylor Frazier, who has aspirations of being a veterinarian when she grows up, the best part was the bugs.

Many water bugs are sensitive to pollution so they serve as an indicator of the health of waterways, according to nature experts.

While not a fan of bugs, Taylor said they were interesting.

"Those were cool. I have never seen them before and I learned something new," she said.

Zachary Reedy, 9, said he plans to be a football player, but found the non-sports-related presentations interesting.

"I like the one about flooding," he said. "You got to see what happens when floods happen."

Mott, a program coordinator for the college, said organizations such as Macomb County Public Works and the Macomb County Health Department helped to ensure the festival went off without a hitch.

There were volunteer presenters from organizations including the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Michigan Clean Water Action, Detroit Zoological Society, Oakland County Water Resources Commission, Clinton River Watershed Council, Huron–Clinton Metroparks and Michigan Department of Community Health.

The Macomb County Prosecutor's Office offered a presentation created with the Macomb County Health Department called "Caught in the Act," where Christina Basilisco, a fourth-grade teacher at Fraser's Thomas Edison Elementary, and her class learned that polluting waterways is not only bad for the environment, but a crime.

UWatson@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2613

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