Plan A CWC

How to Inspire 35,000 Kids to Make a Difference in the Health of Their River!

Imagine a convention floor with more than a hundred booths set-up displaying their wares and selling their products. Look a little closer and you will see that these booths are not staffed by salesmen; many are peopled with high school age students inviting their junior high peers to participate in an array of hands-on science to better know a river.

Wander into the theatre to see an internationally renowned scientist engaging more than 3000 students in an extravaganza that incorporates live music, dynamic video, hard science and lots of inspiration, all laid out with the clear message that they can make a difference.

Follow the throngs up stairs where storytelling, live birds of prey, ballet, chemistry and history are shared with large groups of students in participatory break-out sessions. Students are given the skills and knowledge they need to go home and do something about their river.

Flow back to the convention floor where each classroom teacher leads her students through a series of Streams where they gain hands-on experience in water quality assessment, stream-side stabilization, ground water management, recycling, and managing storm water run-off.

Imagine a convention with as many as 4000 students, formal and informal educators, scientists and artists all convening to celebrate the role of clean water in our lives!

Does this get your heart pumping? Now imagine yourself playing a role in making this dream a reality for your watershed!

The Sun Foundation, with support from the Rivers Project and The Illinois American Water Company, has been organizing and hosting what Val Adamkus, former President of Lithuania called “The largest and most important environmental classroom in the entire United States, maybe the world.”

We have just published a How-To Booklet to help other cities throughout the world organize a similar event for their watershed.

“In recent years other communities have approached us about replicating our success,” remarked editor Brian “Fox” Ellis, “and we have helped Clean Water Celebrations launch in the Caribbean, Desert Southwest and Northwestern Coast. There was a demand for such a booklet and through the generosity of The Illinois American Water Company we were able to make the book available for free.”

Since 1990, an ever growing group of dedicated educators and administrators, arts and science organizations, community and government officials have been working diligently to make a difference in the quality of life in Central Illinois by improving water quality. Now the experience of this group is available to help other communities make a difference in the health of their river.

The Clean Water Celebration has inspired more than 35,000 students and had a lasting impact on the general awareness of many folks throughout our watershed.

The goal of this booklet is to give other communities the benefit of their experience. With a whole-to-parts-to-whole framework, they realize that some may wish to clip an activity or two, maybe start small and build, or maybe just hire one of their speakers or borrow a few lesson plans for a science or history class. They share this information hoping it will used, adapted, and made to work within the parameters of other towns.

Many of the committee members are also eager to answer questions or act as a consultant. Many of the presenters are willing to share their talents with other communities. And there are links to web sites to help develop lesson plans and connect with other environmental organizations.

Download the free How-To Booklet (large PDF, will take a bit to load)

Please contact the Sun Foundation for more information: 309-246-8403 or visit: