BUCKHANNON — Saturday was a beautiful day for the 3rd Annual Riverfest, organized by April Keating and the City of Buckhannon. The Riverwalk Trail seemed fitting for the venue since Riverfest is a celebration of natural water, geared towards raising awareness of how little pure water there actually is on the earth. When people look at a map, they mostly see blue, signifying ample water sources. But unfortunately, it is estimated that only .006% of that water can be purified for drinking, watering plants, bathing and other human needs, according to information provided at Riverfest.
Several vendors were set up at the festival to provide information on the scarcity of water and the importance of understanding just how limited water actually is throughout the world. In keeping with the natural resource theme, Keating arranged for live music to play peacefully in the park using only solar power for each bands’ needs. Food and drinks were provided for patrons, while Day Trippin’ Adventures was on board with kayaks and tubes for float trips down the river, which enhanced the fun side of what water sources have to offer.
Water pollution is a factor that affects everyone. Speakers shared that only 2.5% of all the water on the Earth is fresh water, with only .006% of that fresh water being available for human use. The WV Science Public Outreach Team was present Saturday, through the NASA Space Grant and Greenbank Observatory, to provide a demonstration regarding the limited amounts of fresh water. West Virginia Wesleyan College students Eric Roy and Virginia Martin provided the demonstration. Martin stated, “When you picture the earth, you picture blue, but you can’t use hardly any of it.” Roy added, “We can use all that saltwater for transportation, but when it comes to basic needs for us, we just cannot use it.”
Martin Christ of the WV Department of Environmental Protection was also set up Saturday. Educate, vigilance and protection, projects of support, and celebrate the water are the four ways the DEP gets involved with the watershed.
Solar power companies 25 Solar LLC and DT Solar LLC were both present at Riverfest to provide information about their companies, and also to make the community aware that generating energy from renewable sources, rather than fossil fuels, can improve public health and river ecosystems. Solar energy doesn’t pollute local water resources because solar photovoltaic cells don’t rely on water to generate power. The entire festival was run totally on solar power Saturday. Large solar panels set off 900 watts of power that were also being backed up with a battery to store the solar power. Kevin Ware of 25 Solar LLC provided the panels on his trailer to power the Riverfest bands.
Several guest speakers including Mayor David McCauley, Dr. Joseph Reed, Chief Operator of the Buckhannon Water Treatment Plant Jerry Meyers, Paul Richter from the Buckhannon River Watershed Organization, Staff Scientist for the WV Rivers Coalition Kim Crowe, Doyle Tenney owner of DT Solar LLC, WVDEP’s Martin Christ, and Alan Stevens of Day Trippin Adventures LLC all provided information on the importance of water. For more information, all of these organizations have websites and can be found on Facebook.