NOEL, Mo. — It’s never too early to teach kids about water safety, especially when they live in a community with several nearby rivers. But that’s not the only thing students learned about the water.

The waterways in McDonald County will soon be filled with people in canoes, kayaks, inflatable rafts, and anything else that will float, and some of them will be children. Learning what to do and not to do in the water is the purpose of a water safety training event that 6th, 7th, and 8th graders from Noel Elementary School took part in.

“Our school is within walking distance of this river and the river is the life support of our community and so I just feel like our students need to be able to embrace the great area we live in,” said Gina Thompson, Assistant Principal, Noel Elementary.

“Especially for the kids they live here, they play here. The amount of deaths that we see in streams, more and more people go, it amazes me that people come and get into a canoe and kayak and they never done it before and they take off down the river. They should know some things first,” said Jeff Belk, Rogers Ark High School, Outdoor Educational Instructor.

Not only did students learn about water safety, they also learned about water quality.

“The biggest dangers are like snakes, flash floods, tree stumps, pot holes in the river,” said Robinson Yoshino, Noel Elementary 8th Grader.

“What’s dangerous for us and what to avoid when we’re in the river, and what to not do and just be safe and to now litter cause some things could be like dangerous to like creatures in the water,” said Marco Sanchez, Noel Elementary 8th Grader.

The original plan was for students to get to do some floating themselves, but that idea was nixed due to the height of the river from recent rains.