Education center serves as fountain of knowledge

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NORTH BEND - Chris Holland, facility coordinator at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center near Rattlesnake Lake, remembers "an older woman, my mother's age, who had gone her whole life without knowing what a watershed is."

To demonstrate the concept, Holland showed the woman a scale model representing the vast region of the Cedar River - 141 square miles of green hills and meandering trails of water.

As soon as someone approaches the model, two computer monitors suspended above it turn on. Images of pristine waterfalls and pools pass across the screens. Lasers within the model light up, demonstrating the movement of the river.

Meanwhile, Ralph Naess, a Cedar River naturalist, leads the viewer through the water's journey from the forest to the faucet. He ends the program saying, "All you have to do is turn on the faucet."

The concept is clear. Holland watched the woman's face beam as understanding dawned.

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