In 2014, the second-place winner of The Caring For Our Watersheds competition, Lethbridge High School student Kelsey Armstrong, decided to tackle the issue of debris build-up around local storm drains in her community. Kelsey was concerned that debris entering our watershed through storm drains was impacting the quality of the Oldman River. As a solution, Kelsey designed the “Storm Drain Survival Kit”.
The Storm Drain Survival Kit is made up of: garbage bags, doggie bags, a trowel, gloves, a Prairie Urban Garden plant book and an information brochure, all contained within a reusable shopping bag.
Over six hundred Storm Drain Survival Kits were distributed to the community at events such as: the Lethbridge Green List Celebration, the Annual Knapweed Pull, Prairie Garden Urban Tours, local farmer’s markets and home and garden shows. Through Kelsey’s hard work and commitment to sharing information on storm water awareness, this project was far-reaching and has had an on-going impact in her community.
Along with support from the Caring For Our Watersheds program, Kelsey’s project received funding from The Community Foundation Lethbridge—Youth In Action, the Oldman Watershed Council and the City of Lethbridge.
Rain barrels are designed to collect water, but one distinctive rain barrel designed by students at Daysland School in central Alberta is garnering just as much attention as it is water.
Butterflies, toads, dragonflies and other flora and fauna help depict a healthy watershed on a rain barrel designed by 20 students from grades five to 12 at Daysland School. It also helped the classroom win $1,000 through an international rain barrel giveaway and art contest sponsored by Nutrien’s Caring for our Watersheds (“CFW”) program.
2013 Calgary, Alberta, Canada Torri Kondics, from St. James School in Calgary, Alberta was concerned about water consumption in her school. Torri performed research on the amount of water used by the school, and found that the school used thousands of liters of water a day!
To combat this problem, Torri decided to have two dual-flush toilets installed in St. James School. This resulted in a total savings of almost 1500 L of water per day. Torri also had timers installed on the urinals in the boys’ washroom. These timers decreased the urinal flush rate, resulting in even greater water savings for her school.
Through Torri’s efforts aimed at the decrease of water consumption at St. James School, she has left a legacy for future staff and students, all of whom will benefit from the reduction in water use. Her project will serve as a reminder to future students and staff that every drop does indeed count!
2012 Calgary, Alberta Canada
The Native Plant Campaign (NPC) was an opportunity for youth in Calgary to learn about and get involved in ecological biodiversity within the City of Calgary. As the first-place proposal in Caring for our Watersheds 2011, the NPC was a project designed by youth for youth. Since the student authors were members of UNA-Canada’s Ripple Effect program at the time, UNA-Canada offered to be the mentor organization for implementation.
Twenty-four youth, ages 14-20, volunteered their Saturday afternoon, despite the rain, to learn about and plant native plant species along the banks of the constructed wetland on Prince’s Island Park, Calgary. The event ran from 12:30-4:00pm on Saturday June 2, 2012.
The event began with a welcome from UNA-Canada and a brief overview of the upcoming Rio+20 summit in order to connect local actions with global affairs. Once the students had toured the wetland and learned about riparian health and native/invasive plant species, they spent the remaining time planting over 100 plants, trees, and shrubs. The following species were planted: Balsam Poplar, Aspen, River Birch, Paper Birch, River Alder, Chokecherry, Tawny Willow, Black Bud Willow, Pussy Willow, Silverberry, Dogwood, and Dwarf Birch.
One student said, “I really enjoyed the informational nature walk…I learned a lot and it made the plantings that more meaningful. I am definitely excited to participate in another event like this in the future.”
Jessie Tollestrup, an Erle Rivers student, submitted a proposal to Caring for our Watershed contest. Her proposal was on bank stabilization due to erosion problems on the Milk River. She proposed building willow wattle fences at a location where stream banks are being eroded. Continue reading…
2011 Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
While most middle school students are worried about the present, Cassandra Schinkel is more concerned about the future. That’s why she took it upon herself to build and distribute Caring for Our Watershed Kits to help raise awareness and educate her peers about the importance of their watershed and of taking steps to care for their watershed.
Cassandra felt that it is very important to get children
involved at an early age so that they can be educated
about the environment and help preserve the world they
depend on for future generations. It’s important to raise awareness as many people take the watershed they live in, and the functions it provides, for granted. With her passion for raising awareness and of educating younger generations about the watershed they live in and what they can do, Cassandra hit 7 grade five classrooms in Lethbridge equipped with a 15 minute powerpoint presentation and 150 Caring for Your Watershed kits. Over 150 students heard her presentation and received a kit.
Each Caring for Your Watershed kit contained a watershed word search, bug jar, CFW seed bookmark, water warrior notepad, water warrior badge, water drop ball and a coloring sheet.
Cassandra wanted her project to be educational and fun at
the same time. What she didn’t expect to find out through
the implementation of her project was that she actually taught the teachers something about their watershed, as well as the children in the classrooms she visited.
Cassandra received corporate support for her project from Nutrien, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, St. Mary River Irrigation District and the Oldman Watershed Council.
As part of the Grade Nine Global Leadership Program at St. James School, Veronica Skebo and Charlotte Hardwicke-Brown participated in Caring for our Watersheds. Their idea was to expand their school Peace Garden to incorporate a rain garden.
It took more than just two students to fulfill this project. There were twenty-four students and staff working together. The final project measured around 110 metres squared. The team choose native trees and shrubs such as, White Spruce, Pincherry, and Aspen trees, Common Juniper, Red Twig Dogwood, Yellow Twig and Dwarf Birch shrubs.
Veronica said, “The different types of native plants give a more environment friendly feel and give diversity to the entire garden.”
With the help from Nutrien, North Glenmore Park Community Association, St. James Parent Council and the Education Society, the team raised $5,600.
Veronica went on to add, “The purpose of the garden
was to create and promote awareness and education
on the effect of watersheds and how we can help protect them. We also created the garden to preserve our watersheds through the use of a rain garden concept. We took a lot of time to learn about this concept and make it into a real life plan. Now that I see the amount of rain we gather, I know the concept works well. We believe that the concepts we have put into making this garden work will help protect the watersheds and all of the organisms that live off of the watersheds. The peace garden was originally created so that students can learn outside about our ecosystems and environment and now with the expansion, the peace garden will be used much more with the different concepts that were incorporated.”
Tyson Bohnert from Lethbridge was awarded $1000 to create an on-line Neighbourhood Stewards and Nature Club mentorship program. He performed live presentations, and used different mediums of interaction including website, workshops, videos, pictures, to inform about nature related facts and issues. Continue reading…
Samantha Hans wanted to raise awareness of water challenges and planned a water conference for high school students.
A Water Conference for Youth by Youth was held on Wed. May 11, 2011. The day started with an introduction of UNA-Canada and The Ripple Effect project. The Calgary Current, the Youth Advocacy Group, presented to approximately 50 high school students and their teachers explaining what they do, why they do it, and why they enjoy their involvement in the project. The group of students was then split up into two groups to discuss the basics of water usage, conservation, Calgary’s Watershed and sustainability. After a quick snack the students were back to activities which included ‘water’ Family Feud, learning about the ‘water cost’ of daily items and an interactive guessing game where countries were compared based on their water usage.
Students designed their own water sustainability t-shirts, and participated in various other learning activities including a presentation from My World, My Choice followed by three speakers with a career spin on water issues. Students were exposed to government, NGO and corporate perspectives, offering them a broader sense of career opportunities than what they would find at a career fair. Speakers included a speaker from Alberta Wilderness Association, Nutrien, and the City of Calgary. The day was filled with engaging information and new perspectives on water sustainability that the students had never heard before. Positive feedback was received from both the students and teachers who attended the conference; The Youth Advocacy Group of Calgary Current was impressed with the student’s level of engagement and immensely enjoyed their mentoring role and experience.
Maya Degrood from Erle River High School achieved one of the top ranks in the Grade 7 – 9 Caring for Our Watershed contest for 2010. Her plan looks at the problem of water depletion in Milk River. Continue reading…