School children learn about utilities, safety from FPU employees

Each year employees teach local school children about Fayetteville Public Utilities, how their utilities work and how to use those utilities safely.

As Ralph Askins Elementary School kindergarteners learn about the letter “E,” employees from FPU visit with them to talk about electricity and electrical safety. The classroom session was led by FPU’s Gina Warren. Students watch an educational video featuring Louie the Lightning Bug that teaches them how to use electricity safely in their homes and to be aware of overhead power lines when playing outdoors. Students also learn from employees and a sniffasaurus dinosaur, “Sniffy,” what natural gas is and how its smell helps them recognize a possible gas leak.

FPU Linemen Zach Barnes and Stephen Reese provided a show-and-tell presentation as they demonstrated their safety gear and bucket truck for the students. Barnes also climbed a nearby pole while children cheered him on to climb higher and higher.

Following the video and safety presentation, students were invited to participate in FPU’s Louie the Lightning Bug Coloring Contest. The grand prize, a collectible Louie the Lightning Bug stuffed doll, is awarded to the top artist in each classroom.

So far this year, the electric and natural gas safety program has been presented to students at Ralph Askins and Highland Rim elementary schools and at Stone Bridge Academic Learning Center.

FPU employees also visited with fourth graders at South Lincoln and Unity schools to present the Experiments with Electricity where they build simple series circuits and test insulators and conductors to learn how they react with electricity.

Continuing with utility education, more than 50 home-school students of all ages and their parents toured FPU’s Water Treatment Plant. FPU’s David Posey and Lee Williams led an in-depth tour of how FPU takes water from the Elk River and creates the highest quality drinking water possible.

The group toured both the old and new water plants to compare the benefits of FPU’s advanced process for water filtration, treatment and testing. Younger students tested water samples for pH and chlorine levels in the new lab facility. 

FPU’s Don Counts and Sarah Mac Young documented the visit at Ralph Askins Elementary School, and you can watch the highlights on our website’s Channel 6 link.

First place winners in kindergarten through third grade at Highland Rim School were Beau Watt, Daniel Cartwright, Jesse Kratz, Rayndall Williams, Landen Baker, Reed Stevenson, Blake Shockley, Taylor Mullins, Elizabeth Lyon, Will Cowan, Arwen Peto, Carson Tennant, Maris Golden, Bryce Thomas and Ben Hancock. First place kindergarten winners at Ralph Askins Elementary School were Aaliyah Edmiston, Sophie Carter, True Goerner, Kashlyn Shelton and Emanuel Comilang. Stone Bridge Academic Learning Center’s first place winners were Donovan Serl, Zoe Bierer, Abe Tate, Onyxx Mason and Caroline Martinez.

FPU's Louie the Lightning Bug made guest appearances at Ralph Askins, Highland Rim and Stone Bridge schools to help present coloring contest awards. FPU Linemen Stephen Reese, center, and Zach Barnes, climbing the pole, demonstrated the skills and tools of their trade. Homeschool students toured FPU's new water treatment facility. In the lab, Lee Williams explains the water-testing process.