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Borrow our Water Table!

IAFSM has two Watershed Tabletop Models available for all members to check out (free of charge) and bring to Public Works Open Houses, Scout meetings, 4-H meetings, school classrooms, etc. This offers a great opportunity to educate about a variety of topics including the purpose of those retention ponds near shopping areas, impact of unplanned development and human activity in the floodplain, and floodplain management careers. It always draws a crowd at summer fairs and is popular with kids and adults. IAFSM keeps one in Springfield and the other in northeast Illinois. Contact Sarah at IAFSM@illinoisfloods.org to make arrangements.

What to expect when borrowing the table.  Sarah will return your email with and loan agreement and confirm one is available on dates you would like to borrow the model. You are responsible for picking up and returning the model and it is large. A van or truck is recommended. We will work with you. Our goal is to get the model out there for watershed/floodplain education.

Want more information? The following are useful sources of information concerning the flood model. There is some duplication of data, but they are all worth a quick review. The YouTube videos of others demonstrating the model are particularly useful. The model can be demonstrated a variety of ways to accommodate a variety of audiences. Please feel free to contact Amanda Flegel if you would like to discuss the event you will be using the floodplain model at and possible approaches.

Useful links:

Ward’s Home Page gives an overview and also has a video on their webpage.

Flood Risk Education in Schools Facebook page contains some model tips and videos as well as links to articles about the use of the model. They also have a Twitter handle (@FLoodRisk), and YouTube channel.

Association of State Floodplain Managers website includes several links to resources in their outreach materials webpage. These links include instructions for care, links to Youtube videos, and an outreach brochure.

General suggestions/tips

For large public audiences- state fairs

  • If there are young kids in the audience- address them, not their parents. Parents aren’t going to be engaged in the model if their children are pulling them away.
  • Pull people in by asking questions they can answer without worrying about being wrong.

For younger kids

  • Let them get hands on if the group is small enough. They can place their homes where they’d want to live or pick a place (closer or further from the stream) for a levee.
  • Keep it simple but don’t under estimate what they know. Even very young children will choose to put their house on the hill and guess if the water will be higher or lower than the previous example.
  • Explain in very general terms jobs related to floodplain management.

For classrooms

  • The watershed model can be used as a lab exercise to create and compare hydrographs with and without the retention pond and wetland inserts.




35W749 Bluff Drive | St. Charles, Illinois 60175 | Phone: 630.443.8145 | Fax: 630.443.8198 | IAFSM@illinoisfloods.org

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