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World Water Day in Mantua, Italy

Children and a teacher smile for a photo while sitting on a boat.

Young students hold up a paper plate craft that they made at an event.3.000 students, teachers and community members came together to perform science- and art- related activities in celebration of World Water Day on 22 March 2016 as part of the 16th annual “Rivers in Spring” festival in Mantua, Italy.  GLOBE Italy hosts this annual festival in order to raise awareness on the importance of water resources in the Mantua province and in the Friuli region of Northern Italy.

More than 70 activities were carried out by the students of all ages (spanning elementary to high school) attending the event.  

Students gather around a table looking at educational materials.“At Rivers in Spring participants can easily learn many important facts about water -- the unique element of our planet. They can see how we monitor water quality, how we do research on plants and microinvertebrates living in the water, and how we use the knowledge for water and ecosystems conservation,” stated GLOBE Italy Country Coordinators, Mr. Sandro Sutti and Ms. Lorella Rigonat.

Students gather around a table looking at educational materials.GLOBE Italy was represented at the event by three GLOBE schools.  They were: IISS della Bassa Friulana (a GLOBE school leader at the national level) in Cervignano del Friuli (Udine); IS Fermi High School; and IS Strozzi High School in Mantua, Italy. These schools presented on their work with the GLOBE Program.

Students from IS Fermi showed a dynamic model of aeroponic culture and an integrated hydraulic system dynamic model with a biological purification cycle.  GLOBE school, IS Strozzi prepared scientific experiments to measure the phytotoxicity of irrigation water in connection to the COP21 topic “Water Conservation in Agriculture.”

Many students and teachers are seen from a distance for an educational event.Students from the IISS Bassa Friulana school presented on GLOBE Field Measurement Campaigns and ran workshops on Mantua Lake water.  The students also monitored the lake water according to the GLOBE Program’s protocols.  In addition, they investigated water-soil interactions, presented an operating model of ground water and a case study on river resurgence.

Sutti and Rigonat added: “This event helps to popularize the GLOBE Program in Italy.  Citizens from the Mantua province have the opportunity to meet many GLOBE students and see their amazing work. This event is also highlighted in local media.”

A man in a lab coat is interviewed by a woman with a microphone while a man with a camera records the interaction.During the event, special importance was given to monitoring activities of surface water.  This was done by experts of the Regional Environmental Protection Agency and by researchers of the National Research Council in Milan. They presented satellite images of Mincio River and Mantua Lake and explained about monitoring water parameters through remote sensing.

World Water Day also offered various cultural, sports and sightseeing activities related to the river and lakes.  These helped to remind the community about the value and diversity of the water ecosystems in the region.

Students gather around a table looking at educational materials.Scientists from the Italian National Research Council-IREA in Milan, experts from the Inter-regional Agency for the River Po and of Mincio Territories Consortium Remediation; and many more volunteers and organizations from the region also participated in the festival’s activities.

Rivers in Spring was promoted by the Labter-Crea School Network and IISS Bassa Friulana High School, cooperating with institutional partners such as the Mantua City, Mantua Province and protected areas of Mincio and Oglio Sud in Italy.