Dippy Duck Visits Pine Students
Students at Pine School had a visit from Dippy Duck Monday afternoon.
The Imperial Irrigation District mascot was part of a presentation aimed at discouraging kids from swimming in or playing around the thousands of miles of canals throughout the county. It looks like the message was well received, judging by the reaction from the first group of young students.
The presentation is geared towards the age of the students, with a simpler program for younger kids. It includes a short interactive slideshow, a visit from Dippy himself, and a question and answer period so the children can show that they have received the big duck’s message.
Pine is just one of many schools that Dippy and the rest of his team will be visiting over the next month. With warm weather and a long summer vacation at hand, the IID works at getting its safety message out every spring to save the lives of children in the Imperial Valley. It is working too, since deaths that resulted from swimming in canals have dropped since Dippy came along in 1966. He is based on a duck that was saved from a canal by a zanjero 51 years ago.
“Stay Active, Play Safe, Be COOL” is the message, and it has gradually sunk in.
The district has 3,100 of drains and canals, and fences for them would stretch all the way from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic and back again. Since it would be impossible to actually build all those barriers, the IID has taken to building what is called a psychological fence in the minds of children.
To help the kids remember what they learned and to keep it fresh in their minds, the Pine students all received activity books, stickers and plastic spinners that can be used as frisbees or boomerangs. Taking things home also encourages students to share the safety tips with siblings, parents and friends.
The Dippy Duck team will be busy, taking their show to more than 21,000 students in the county over the next few weeks. The IID also makes donations to local swimming pools and other water activities to provide a safe alternative to swimming in canals.