2017, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Luke Roffey from Westwood Collegiate is passionate about the creek near his home. “Sturgeon Creek provides vital habitat for many species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and fish, and it’s a critical piece of nature in an otherwise urbanized landscape.” He proposed an underwater cleanup with his peers using canoes and litter removal equipment.
“An underwater litter removal project has never been done in Sturgeon Creek before, and judging by the amount of garbage Westwood students remove from the banks of the creek each year, there is likely a lot of garbage under the surface that needs to be cleaned up. Removing garbage from an aquatic ecosystem such as a stream greatly increases the quality of the habitat for wildlife. Gone are hazards that can cause injury and entanglement for animals. Removing floating and submerged garbage will dramatically increase not only the natural beauty of the park, but also the functionality of the ecosystem.
Many people, especially youth, have become very disconnected with the environment, and participating in my project will allow them to reconnect with nature. Canoeing in particular can be very therapeutic, thus by participating in my project students will not only be bettering their local watershed, but also bettering themselves.”
Upon hearing of the project, a local company “Wilderness Supply” offered to loan all of the equipment free of charge. During the cleanup, students engaged with passerby’s explaining their project and the importance to the watershed. It was a great day they now hope to repeat on an annual basis.
2017, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Hunter Watson and Alyssa Lee from Westwood Collegiate came up with one of the most unique projects seen to date. They chose to look at Watershed Awareness through Dance with spectacular evening including dance, watershed information booths, and guest speakers from watershed community partners.
“As students who are very involved in the arts in school and around the community, immediately we were reminded of how often we are told about how much dance can have an impact on people. That thought gave us the idea to create a dance show with every dance revolving around water and our watersheds. The damages we have done to it, the beauty it has, and how important it is to preserve it.
Each dance will have images projected on the screen that will help to enhance the dance and its meaning. Some dances will deal with the pollution side to our effect on our watersheds, some will focus on how our watersheds could and should look like all reflecting behind the dancer.
Seeing the issues and solutions through dance, pictures and speakers that can range from high school students to well-known organizations will surely leave an impact on the audience. This is something that has never been done before but we are confident we can do this right.”
This event attracted over 200 participants and ended with a well-deserved standing ovation standing ovation.
2016, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
In researching her Caring for our Watersheds project, Katelyn discovered a starting fact about her school’s use of dry erase whiteboard markers; “My school goes through approximately 1570 markers within a 10 month period.” That’s 1570 markers going in the trash each year. Given that these markers “are plastic, toxic, and non-recyclable” Katelyn saw the need to make a change to “prevent and lower the amount of chemicals making their way into the Lake Winnipeg watershed.”
Katelyn proposed reusable, refillable, nontoxic ink markers by AusPen. Switching to these pens will support “eliminating piles of unneeded plastics and toxins from our landfills to create a healthier watershed.” Katelyn also discovered that this is a more cost-friendly option, too, with potential savings of 55%! Thanks to contribution from Caring for our Watersheds, Katelyn was able to purchase these markers for her school with the hope that this plan will travel across her school division.
This project was selected as the international implementation idea for 2017.
2016, Bruxelles, Manitoba, Canada
Manon Ketsman from Nelly McClung Collegiate wanted to help with the restoration of a local community park.
“Bruxelles sits within the Pembina Valley Conservation District and is also within the Cypress River Watershed, which drains into the Assiniboine River.
The region around Bruxelles is considered to have poor agricultural capabilities and much of the Southern portion of the Cypress River Watershed is considered moderately to severely at risk of soil and bank erosion.
The Peace and Plenty Garden will be a welcome addition and after much discussion it was decided that a water catchment would be a great addition to the park as it would add a learning area for students and it would be beneficial towards their education. This water catchment will teach the students about water conservation and how important water actually is as a resource when it comes to agriculture. They will use the water collected in the catchment to water the butterfly gardens as well as their vegetable gardens.”
2016, Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada
Taylor Bean was concerned with the amount of insecticides Farms were using to control fly populations. She knew there were more environmentally sustainable options available.
“Insecticides have shown to disrupt the balance of the ecosystem and many cannot be broken down by an organism’s body resulting in bioaccumulation”
With a three-pronged approach of fans, ecofriendly spray and fly sheets for the horses, she felt the need for insecticides would be removed.
To involve the community, Taylor purchased horse blankets that she would loan to other farmers to try them out in hopes they would switch over to this method.
“These blankets have helped so much in reducing the horses being irritated by the flies. The use of insecticides (fly spray) by horse owners is drastically reduced therefore reducing the effects on our watershed. The horses and the owners are much happier with the changes that the Caring For Our Watersheds project has allowed me to implement.”
2016, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Madeline Mann from Miles Macdonell Collegiate in Winnipeg decided to improve the water quality in her community by convincing her school to change to more environmentally friendly cleaners.
“I live in the Cooks – Devils Creek watershed and I think the biggest problem this watershed faces right now is the fact that community that I live in has been on a boil water advisory since 2002.
The idea of switching out one of the school cleaning products with an environmentally friendly one is a simple way to reduce the amount of chemicals that our school is putting into our watershed. I have found the product I would want to switch it with, I have done the necessary research and I have determined the cost and quantity that my school would need for cleaning. By changing into an eco-friendly product our watershed will benefit and the water quality will improve because there is less chemicals flowing into the watershed.”
Not only was Madeline successful, this was implemented in the whole school board and required no financial support from the contest.
2016, Virden, Manitoba, Canada
Laura Wallace noticed that her local lake, Oak Lake, “is a sad sight due to eutrophication. It has been coated with green sludge called algae- which has sent residents and vacationers running for the hills. Hiding among the green goop is blue green algae, which can be toxic to humans. Oak Lake, from time to time, has had to close the beach due to health concerns.”
Clearly, it was time for a change, and Laura had an innovative idea: to build a floating cattail pond called a bio-platform to absorb phosphorus and other nutrients in the water, leading to less algae and safer water. In partnership with her local Conservation District and thanks to a contribution from Agrium, Laura has been hard at work building her bio-platform, which will be launched at the local beach. As Laura shared, “the small changes I hope to achieve could lead to long term success, and I think many Oak Lake residents and animals will be thankful and supportive of my effort to clean up their home.”
2016, Falcon Lake, Manitoba, Canada
Because Delaney Rosentreter from Westwood Collegiate is passionate about both diving and clean water for the environment, she organized an underwater cleanup at the Falcon Lake Marina. This implementation was done in partnership with Diver City Scuba and the Falcon Lake Marina.
“There are many environmental benefits to my
underwater cleanup project. Benefits include cleaner water for the lake, marine life, and the ecosystem in general. This simple yet environmentally changing project is easy for anyone to get involved around the community. The marine life will have more areas to lay eggs, less debris on the lake floor, and have more plant life for the fish to feed on.”
Close to 20 divers participated in the cleanup. Although the water was murky, several objects were found including a drone! Following the dive, the divers were provided with a BBQ lunch and hot beverages to warm up.
2016, Little Black River First Nation, Manitoba, Canada
Students at Black River Adult Education Centre wanted to go back to the land to learn. They wanted to use their traditional teachings to create a circle garden for the school to use and the community to learn from. “The benefits of sustainable garden are plenty. Gardening is an environmentally friendly way of using resources provided by nature, such as soil and rain water.”
Thanks to a contribution from Agrium, students got to work, planting corn, beans, squash, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. The garden is a team-effort that brings the students to an outdoor classroom where they can learn about growing their own organic food.
2016, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
“The number one most littered item in Canada and worldwide are cigarette butts,” wrote Garden
City student Sheree. “People are simply unaware of the environmental impacts cigarettes have, or believe that because there is already litter on the ground, it would not make a difference if they followed suit. “ These cigarette butts end up in our water where they leach out chemicals and pose a hazard to wildlife mistaking the trash for food. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, Sheree discovered “cigarette butts are made of cellulose acetate, a non- biodegradable plastic, which can take up to 25 years to decompose.”
Her solution was simple- to purchase cigarette receptacles to place at two hot spots on school property so that cigarette butts could be disposed of properly. Thanks to a contribution from Agrium Sheree was able to do just that!