Water experience centre Hidrodoe makes children aware of water consumption in agriculture and horticulture sector

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Waterhergebruik

No water, no food on your plate. With that message, Water Experience Centre Hidrodoe and the project partners of Life ACLIMA aim to playfully promote the need for water in the agriculture and horticulture sectors to a younger target audience. Agriculture and horticulture farmers often already use water sustainably. Which water-saving measures already exist and how young people themselves can roll up their sleeves is covered in the refreshing water game tailored to young people.

Playful learning about water

Hidrodoe is the place to be when it comes to water. The water experience centre celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and passes on knowledge about water to 55,000 visitors every year. Through experiments, a 4D film, and games… children are immersed in the world of water. Until recently, there was no exhibit with a focus on the agriculture and horticulture sectors.

“Water is invaluable,” says Commissioner for Agriculture and European Cooperation, Kathleen Helsen. “Without water, no life, but without water also no food on our plates. So it is good that there is now an exhibit in the centre of the water experience centre so that children can discover playfully that a lot of water is needed before a hamburger or tomatoes are on our plates. At the same time, we also want to give them the message that a good farmer must also use water sustainably. It is not an inexhaustible resource and every drop of water the farmer collects, purifies or keeps is a drop gained. In this way, we want to bring children closer to agriculture and horticulture. The earlier they are involved, the more respect the farmer enjoys.”

Farming with a positive vibe

“Within the Life ACLIMA project, we are mainly concerned with climate adaptation pathways and are providing growers with the right tools and measures to increase water availability on their farms to cope with future droughts and abundant rainfall,” adds Joris De Nies, project coordinator of Life ACLIMA. “With this project, we want to give the agriculture and horticulture sector a more positive image. This is possible thanks to the opportunity we got from Hidrodoe to convert an existing exhibit with a focus on the agriculture and horticulture sector.”

The game covers the dairy farming sector, the poultry sector, greenhouse horticulture and outdoor crops. Within each of these 4 sectors, we simply highlight 4 measures: purify water, collect water, retain water and spray water to cool cattle on hot days. The game always starts with an animated character who gets into trouble because of the heat or a lack of water. On the game board, children then have to make the right choice. For example, there is a tomato that runs out of water and becomes unhappy. Then, on the game board, the children have to collect water in a basin to rehydrate the tomato. By using water sustainably, they can collect tomatoes, lettuce, egg and cheese to complete a hamburger to finish the game. Through play, they will learn about the different measures and better understand the need for water in agriculture and horticulture. A QR code will take parents or teachers to a webpage with additional info, allowing them to explain more about the measures and water consumption in the different sectors.

Interactive game thanks to teamwork

Hidrodoe is also excited about the new exhibit and the representation of the agriculture and horticulture sector in the water experience centre. “We immediately started brainstorming,” says Hilde De Laet, manager of Hidrodoe. “When the request came from the Life ACLIMA consortium for a collaboration, we saw the opportunity to transform an existing exhibit into a new interactive game. It was teamwork. With the help of some experts in their field like Grigri for the interactivity, Volstok for the illustrations and animations and the provincial school PTS Boom, we were able to make it happen. Thanks to a great collaboration, the agriculture and horticulture sector will be here in the years to come, offering many children answers to all their water questions.” 

This interactive game came about with the support of the Provincial Chamber of Agriculture. The Provincial Chamber of Agriculture supports associations and farmers and horticulturists who promote the positive image of agriculture and horticulture in the province.

Students from provincial education Antwerp also collaborated

Under the guidance of Kurt Buelens, technical advisor at PTS Boom, several 5th-year students from the directions ‘Woodworking’ and ‘Interior joinery and Interior’ also collaborated on this special project. Using advanced laser equipment, the students fabricated a mould based on an existing layout. The challenging aspect for the students was taking oblique measurements with laser equipment and then reading them out on a CNC machine. This preparatory work included programming, milling and preparing all the materials, after which the client could further finish the result.

Delegate Luk Lemmens, responsible for Provincial Education Antwerp, emphasises the importance of practical experience: “Our pupils’ contribution to the Hidrodoe project illustrates that provincial education not only develops technical skills but also bridges the gap between theory and practice. Our pupils apply their knowledge and contribute to real projects, gaining valuable experience outside the classroom. And with success. We enthusiastically look forward to further collaborations and the opportunity to contribute even more to innovation and socially relevant projects.”

More information about the project: Life ACLIMA | Every drop counts

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