Living Sustainably: Macatawa Water Festival goes virtual with creative approach

By Ashley Van Zee, ODC Network
We all live in a watershed, and this year, we can all celebrate it safely.
If you live in the Holland/Zeeland area, you live in the Macatawa watershed. A watershed is an area of land that drains into a certain stream, river, or lake. It’s like a bathtub where all the water flows towards the drain because it’s the lowest spot.
We usually celebrate our watershed in person at the Macatawa Water Festival, but this year’s event has been moved to a week-long, virtual-style celebration.
We are excited to still celebrate the Macatawa Watershed and encourage you to continue to visit, explore, and care for it. The virtual celebration is a great way to continue to lift our community and bring everyone together.
From July 11 through 17, 14 local businesses are joining in the fun by providing activities, suitable for all ages, that will be shared on social media and on the Macatawa Water Festival webpage.

Activities will range from a DIY Rain Barrel Workshop to assorted on-line video and PDF activity sheets to a scavenger hunted shared on social meeting, plus a variety of in-person but dispersed activities including kayaking, a Knee-High Naturalist program for kids and a river clean-up.

Please go to for more information on the virtual Macatawa Water Festival week!

Here are three reasons everyone should tune in and participate in the activities for the 2020 Macatawa Water Festival:

  1. Fourteen partners used their creativity to build an activity to promote our beloved watershed.
  2. You won’t be disappointed with the unique activities that help you recreate in, learn about, and increase awareness for the Macatawa Watershed
  3. It’s a great and free way for the whole family to unplug and get outdoors! Thank you to our sponsors: Macatawa Area Coordinating Council, Huntington Bank, Back to Health Chiropractic, Meijer, Boar’s Head Provisions, Holland Litho, Velo City Cycles, Niswander Environmental, and GoodInk.
     Ashley Van Zee is development manager at the ODC Network, a non-profit education and conservation organization with the purpose of connecting people with nature through outdoor education for the benefit of wildlife and the conservation of the natural world.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

The new virtual Macatawa Water Festival will offer a variety of online activities for kids that can be completed and shared through social media.
This year’s new Macatawa Water Festival format will include a DIY rain barrel project.
Previous years’ on-site Macatawa Water Festival featured activities like crafts with an environmental theme. This year’s festival will feature an assortment of dispersed events and activities to be shared on social media, spread over a week in mid-July.