The CARING FOR OUR WATERSHEDS program asks to students to submit a proposal that answers the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?” Students must research their local watershed, identify an environmental concern and come up with a realistic solution. Community judges select the top entries to compete at a final competition.
Cash awards are given to schools and students who participate. There is also implementation funding available.
Young minds often hold the key to amazing innovations that can protect and improve our watersheds. This program is Monday morning ready and fits into curriculum.
Deadlines, rules, awards and watershed information is special for each contest.
CARING FOR OUR WATERSHEDS is sponsored by Agrium, with support from other local and national conservation partners. Agrium sponsors the program in communities where it operates.
There are currently 12 contests:
CANADA: Central Alberta, Southern Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario
USA: California, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, DC
ARGENTINA: San Antonia de Areco area
AUSTRALIA: Victoria area
If you would like the program in your area please contact us. We may not be able to offer the entire contest but there may be opportunities for student action project grants and much more.
Agrium has been named a global leader in environmental education by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).
The association gave the company its global-level Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award last week. NAAEE promotes and celebrates environmental education initiatives that teach children and adults how to learn about and investigate their environment – and to make intelligent, informed decisions about how they can take care of it. This award is given annually to individuals and organizations at the local, regional and global levels.
“Teaching younger generations about the importance of good environmental stewardship is a key component of Agrium’s sustainability programs,” says Leslie O’Donoghue, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy, and Chief Risk Officer. “We are delighted to receive such a prestigious award that recognizes our efforts and successes in this area.”
Agrium received this year’s award thanks to its Caring for Our Watersheds (CFW) program. CFW asks students to submit a proposal that answers the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?” Students must research their local watersheds, identify environmental concerns and propose realistic solutions. Community judges select the top entries to compete in a verbal competition and awards are given to participating students and their schools or clubs.
Agrium also provides implementation funding to help turn the students’ ideas into realistic solutions that help improve our land, water and air. Since 2007, nearly 12,000 students have participated, implementing over 150 projects with the help from community mentors. About 65 community partners work together to execute the program and mentors to the students across 12 contest locations in Canada, the United States, Argentina and Australia.
“I absolutely love working with Caring for Our Watersheds program,” says Gwen Roth of the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, which nominated Agrium for the award. “The best part of the program is that students actually receive the help, mentorship and money to make their ideas a reality. It is wonderful to see their happiness and sense of satisfaction when they realize they accomplished something lasting and meaningful.”
Caring for our Watersheds is a leading environmental education program, because it offers real-life experience, while complementing school curriculum, says Lindsey Metheral, Agrium’s Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations Specialist.
“It brings together the strengths of educations and conservation experts into a joint effort of tangible environmental stewardship,” Lindsey notes. “Moreover, the students build life skills that will help them the rest of their lives.”
Agrium Wins Emerald Award
Agrium’s Caring for our Watersheds (CFW) program is the proud recipient of a 2011 Alberta Emerald Award in the Education: Non-Formal category.
“The Emerald Award is like winning an Oscar for environmental stewardship in Alberta. It is a huge accomplishment to win this prestigious award and we are very honoured,” said Lindsey Metheral, Agrium Program Coordinator. “The Caring for our Watersheds program continues to grow thanks to our community partners who are dedicated to mentoring the students on the state of their local watershed.”
Empowering Students to Bring Their Ideas to Life
“The students have incredible ideas on how to improve our local environment and we are committed to helping them make their ideas happen,” added Metheral.
The key to the success of the CFW program relies in taking action after the contest. All students are encouraged to implement their idea. Agrium offers over $100,000 per year to help students’ ideas become reality.
Good for the Environment = Good for our Communities
“I have seen the spectacular innovation and ideas put forth in Caring for our Watersheds. I strongly believe this contest will be beneficial not only to our environment but to the communities where we operate, said Agrium President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Wilson. ”What better way to help grow the next generation but by engaging them and asking for help in seeking solutions in our communities.”
A university student at this year’s ceremonies commented that all of the generations need to work together to take care of our environment and Agrium couldn’t agree more. By working together we can make a difference.
This was the 20th year that the Emerald Awards have taken place.
“Albertans are passionate about balancing the development of this province’s rich resources with environmental stewardship. The Emerald Awards recognize and reward the excellent environmental initiatives undertaken each year.” (Alberta Emerald Foundation, 2011).
- Video showcasing Agrium’s nomination in the category of Education: Non-Formal
Congratulatory Letter from Parliament – As word of the Emerald Award spread, accolades for the educational program came in from everywhere.
Watershed Moment: CFW feted once again
Caring for our Watersheds received its second major environmental award in 2011 – the Fred Heal Conservation Award!
Almost all of Agrium’s Western Canadian operations sit inside the Saskatchewan River Basin, and an advocacy group bent on keeping those waterways clean and healthy just gave Agrium an award for choosing to be part of the solution.
“What a wonderful honour,” says Lindsey Metheral, Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations Coordinator. “It is extremely gratifying to be acknowledged by a major environmental organization and to be a part of a program that is making positive changes to the state of our local watershed.”
The Fred Heal Conservation Award recognizes a community, organization or business that has taken direct initiative in preserving and/or enhancing the health of the Saskatchewan River Basin.
“This program is an innovative way to encourage youth to take ownership in their local watersheds,” says Lis Mack, Acting Manager of the Partners for the Saskatchewan River Basin. “These students are our future leaders who are learning early to think ‘out of the box’ to protect our vital water resources.”
Since 1993, the Partners have promoted the stewardship and sustainability of the Saskatchewan River Basin, an international watershed stretching over the three Prairie Provinces and a portion of Montana. Agrium production facilities that sit inside the basin include Redwater, Fort Saskatchewan, Joffre, Carseland, Calgary and Vanscoy.
CFW Partner Recognized for Conservation Efforts!
Our community partner in California, The Center for Land-Based Learning, was recently awarded The Partners in Conservation Award from California Department of the Interior.
The Partners in Conservation Award is a Department of the Interior Honor Award established to recognize conservation achievements that include collaborative activity among a diverse range of entities that may include Federal, State, local and tribal governments, private for-profit and non-profit institutions, other non-governmental entities, and individuals.This award enables the Secretary to acknowledge in one award the contributions of both Interior and non-Interior personnel. Overall, this award recognizes outstanding conservation results that have been produced primarily because of the engagement and contributions of many partners.
Member, Center for Land-Based Learning
Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, recently recognized Sacramento’s Center for Land Based Learning (CLBL) for their exemplary conservation and partnership service. CLBL partners with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Audubon California, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, Agrium Inc. and other partners to conserve and enhance habitat for wildlife by promoting a healthy interplay between agriculture and nature. The CLBL was nominated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sacramento Field Office.
“I take pride in knowing that the partnership with CLBL not only helps to accomplish the Service’s mission but that we are also helping to train the next generation of conservation professionals,” explained Karleen Vollherbst, USFWS School Yard Habitat Coordinator.
For a great article on award which also highlights Caring for Our Watersheds, see: http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/kimball-receives-award-on-behalf-of-conservation-partnerships/
Caring for Our Watersheds wins special mention in Argentina!
Caring for Our Watersheds participated in a local sustainability contest which was organized by Aapresid. Aapresid, Argentina Association of Producers in no-till planting, is a non profit NGO, which is composed of a network of companies and farmers, with the aim of preserving its main resource, the soil.
Caring for Our Watersheds was awarded with Special Mention for Environmental Education in the Sustentar award categorie, which recognizes sustainbaility in the Agrifood Systems and is organized by Aapresid, Revisgta Chacra and Agritotal.
The award was received by Matia Salinas, North Division Marketing Manager, at the Aapresid event held in Rosario, Santa Fe province. This is Caring for Our Watersheds first award in Argentina!
If schools are interested in participating they MUST REGISTER THEIR SCHOOL – click here to register.
Volunteer tasks and assignments come in all skill levels and time commitments, such as helping tabulate scores or mentoring contestants. The more people that volunteer, the better this experience will be for the students – click here to register.
2010 Top Finalists Announced at Government of Alberta
On Monday, April 18, 2011 Alberta’s Minister of Environment, Honourable Rob Renner, greeted seven Caring for our Watersheds (CFW) winners and their chaperons at the Legislative Building.
The CFW group had the privilege of visiting with Minister Renner in his office. The CFW students were given an opportunity to explain their ideas to Minister Renner and again to MLA Broyce Jacobs.
Later in the afternoon, Minister Renner introduced the Caring for our Watersheds group in Alberta’s Legislative Assembly.
If you don’t know what a watershed is, it’s time to find out…we all live in one.
Protecting our watersheds is more important than ever. Fresh water and healthy soils are limited and as our world population grows we all need to do more to preserve and improve the land, air and water.
Youth across North America, Argentina and Australia are turning their environmental ideas into solutions. The Caring For Our Watersheds program asks the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?” The contest may not be offered in your town, but YOU are still encouraged to answer the question by taking action in your community.