M/V Buckeye State, RiverWorks Discovery highlight outdoor adventure event
(Story by Jennifer Mason and Heather Tomko)
CINCINNATI, Ohio — Nearly 6,000 children from more than 100 schools, summer day camps and churches disconnected from the digital world June 21 and plugged into the world of nature at the 7th annual Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo at Coney Island.
The highlight for nearly 3,400 children and adults was a tour of AEP River Operations’ M/V Buckeye State, a two-year-old towboat. “I can’t believe how big that boat is,” one child said after the tour. “I think it would be really cool to drive it up and down the river!”
RiverWorks Discovery provided numerous hands-on exhibits including a working lock and dam model; 3-D puzzles of a paddlewheel and a towboat, and performances by a live storyteller. The kids also learned how to catch a fish, wear a life jacket, paddle a raft, reach the top of a climbing wall, throw a boomerang, navigate a barge through a lock and to test water for pollution.
The Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo is the largest water safety and environmental education event for children in the Midwest. It won the top award from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association as the “best environmental program in Ohio in 2011.”
The event also drew attention to the beauty and value of the Ohio River, and the importance of children and adults alike connecting with the natural world in their own backyards. To view more pictures of the event, go to RiverWorks Discovery’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/riveroutreach) and view their picture album, “Paddlefest Kid’s Expo 2012.”
RiverWorks Discovery (RWD) was developed by AEP River Operations and has been supported by over 35 funding partners in the river industry. This highly successful educational program has now been adopted and is being expanded. RiverWorks Discovery is a national outreach education effort of the National River Center & Hall of Fame located at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. RWD is a coordinated effort which brings together the for-profit industry, community leaders, museums, nature centers, educators, and the general public in recognition of the role our rivers have played and will continue to play in our nation’s future.