MSU Denver uses theater to teach kids about water conservation

Our Colorado: Teaching to save water through art
Posted at 4:38 PM, May 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-19 20:13:12-04

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DENVER -- Water is Colorado’s most precious natural resource, and Colorado’s children represent our future water stewards. Conservation is becoming more and more important as Colorado's population continues to grow. 

Since 2014, MSU Denver's theater department has teamed up with One World One Water (OWOW), a conglomeration of Denver, Boulder and Aurora water companies, to put on an original play for kids. It addresses the unique precipitation patterns in Colorado and how to conserve water.

Water Wise Circa 2018 Theater Company performs for schools all over the metro area.

"I firmly believe in theater for social change," said MSU theater department chair and professor Marilyn Hetzel.

"Theater for social change means that you have a really good story that people can think about. It's not a recipe for changing behavior, but it's a way in which to get people to think about things and perhaps change behaviors because of what they saw."

The play, which has now been seen by thousands of students, teaches ways of simple conservation in terms kids will understand.

"We know that they understand that it's better to wash your car at a car wash because car wash's use recycled water. They know it's better to have shorter showers," explained Hetzel.

The play also teaches students about Colorado being a headwater state. All the water in Colorado comes in from snow pack and rain. Rivers only flow out.

Starting education early could be the key to navigating the challenges of water supply in a growing Colorado.

"I feel like we're using our power for good, which is the whole point," said Hetzel.

Colorado water companies are working to obtain funding to continue to teach conservation through performance.