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July 9, 2003

Exhibit leads state fairgoers down the right 'path' to water quality

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - One Indiana State Fair exhibit will use native grasses to demonstrate how landscaping can prevent water contamination and slow runoff as part of a display of water quality management practices.

"The Pathway to Water Quality is an interactive exhibit that will show how everything has to work together to keep the water clean," said Jim Krejci, Purdue University Extension soil and water conservation coordinator. "The exhibit area includes a log cabin, a freshwater well, a covered bridge and a flowing stream."

This year native prairie grasses and flowers will be added to the display. Krejci said these plants are great for landscaping but aren't used as much as they could be. The plants can play an important role in erosion control by slowing water runoff. During the exhibit, water will be pumped onto these plants so fairgoers can see the efficiency of plant cover.

Not only are these native plants effective at erosion control, but they also are easy to maintain.

"A lot of native grasses can be planted around the home and don't require the maintenance that the introduced plants do," Krejci said.

Educational materials and demonstrations of various control measures and potential problems will be at the exhibit, including:

• Demonstrating how runoff is lessened at construction sites.

• Examining farmers' manure management practices.

• Preventing erosion and slowing runoff by no-till planting.

• Examining the management of woods and wildlife areas.

• Learning about Indiana soils and their properties.

• Learning how to evaluate property for health and safety risks.

• Watching wetlands filter water as it flows through the watershed.

• Studying the water cycle at "Blue Traveler," an interactive zone for kids.

• Reviewing water usage practices of the early 1900s.

• Exploring an alternative watering system for cattle to protect streams.

State fair participants can roam the pathway at the fairgrounds in Indianapolis from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 6-17. The Soil and Water Quality Program is sponsored in partnership with Purdue Extension, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Inc.

For visitors to the state fair during Purdue Day on Aug. 13, cold watermelon will be served at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Writer: Michelle Betz, (765) 494-8402, agnews-stories@purdue.edu

Source: Jim Krejci, (765) 494-4795, jmkrejci@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, bforbes@aes.purdue.edu; http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/AgComm/public/agnews/

Related Web site:
Soil and Water Quality Education


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