From program participant to CFW’s Colorado Coordinator! Learn how Caring for Our Watersheds has left a lasting legacy for Ivonne.
“Most school assignments are just hypothetical, but this one came to fruition in a big way. I’m very thankful that Mr. Cochrane got us involved with the CFW program because none of this would have happened without that first step. Messages of how important it is to look after the environment surround us, but something like this makes it all that more real.”
“Caring for Our Watersheds allowed me to explore a region of science and conservation that I knew little about at the time. The project itself, along with the understanding that eventually came to me through my participation, gave me a true passion for the environment. I can easily say that the decision the be a part of CFW not only changed the way I view the world and its ecosystems, but it has also driven me to discover and learn more about this immense field of science.”
“My project involved educating homeowners of the benefits of mulch for our environment and ecosystem…the Caring For Our Watershed program enables students to use their creativity to establish solutions that would otherwise be unheard and unseen… It helps students realize the value of community contribution and the significant impact each individual can have….Without a doubt, Caring For Our Watersheds impacts our environment, but equally as important, also the lives of its participants.”
“The benefits are multifaceted and very meaningful. The project gave my curriculum a sharper focus, gave the students real world experience and the cash rewards to the school are providing continued assistance to students.The [Caring for Our Watersheds] watershed project fit perfectly into my grade 8 science curriculum in Ontario. Students in grade 8 in Ontario are expected to learn about the water cycle, and how humans impact water systems in their area.These curricular expectations were seamlessly inserted into a very realistic project. Through producing this project, the students gained experience in reading a variety of texts, writing for a intended audience and purpose, oral presentation, math, and in creating visual presentations. This holistic approach to learning, or integrated learning, is extremely beneficial as it seamlessly draws the students into higher level of thinking skills. They were not simply writing for their teacher, but they were creating for an audience much bigger than the one they were used to in their classroom. This type of real-world experience, is often very hard to artificially create in a classroom.”
“I learned about the [Caring for Our Watersheds] project through our local watershed council. As a teacher, I find that there is not enough time in the year to do project-based learning, however project-based learning is the way of the future and the way that we are supposed to be teaching students. When I found this project, extremely excited to see how well it fit in with the curriculum of our grade 8. I decided to have the students do this watershed project as part of their final grade for our water unit. I had 30 students in my class this year. When I gave them this project, I allowed them to decide what it was they wanted to talk about. I wanted them to research something that meant more to them than just what the textbook told them. I wanted them to be able to look within our own community and area and find problems they thought needed to be fixed. I gave the students two weeks in science class and computer class to complete this project. I have never seen my students actually put so much pride into one project. Although it was something that didn’t necessarily appeal to everyone, all of my students put in quite an effort, because this is a project that hit home for them. They were able to look around our community of Milk River, around their homes, around their farms and see things that they would be able to change themselves. I know that my students put a lot more time and thought into this project than they would have put into studying for a final exam. I know that they were motivated because this was a major mark for them but they were also motivated by the fact that there was a chance to win money. Let’s face it all students like the idea of winning a little cash! I was extremely proud to find out that six of my students made the finals. My students were nervous about speaking in front of the panel of judges in a roomful of other people, however, I think that this experience was amazing for them. The students had completed speeches as well as a PowerPoint that outlined what our watershed is, a problem found here locally, the solution to that problem, and a budget as to what they would need to be able to put this project into place. Out of my six students that made it to the finals, three of them placed in the top three positions. I truly believe the reason for this is because they were allowed to do a project based on something they knew. I would recommend this project to absolutely any teacher in junior high. Not only does it have its science curriculum, but it would also fit under a social current events curriculum. I know from experience that my students have never felt as much success in one school project. Thank you Nutrien for making this happen!”
“My students participated in the Caring for Our Watersheds Contest last year. This was a great experience for all of us! My students really began to see the connection between what they do and how it can impact their watershed and their environment. A few of my students applied for implementation money and they are implementing their projects this year. I love that this contest gives my students real life experience and empowers them to make changes and improve their local community! I will definitely do this contest this year and look forward to it! Thank you, Nutrien and Center for Land Based Learning for giving us this opportunity.”
The “Caring for Our Watersheds” project was the perfect opportunity for an educator to build environmental consciousness, promote higher level thinking and a hands-on experience for middle school students.”
“It was great to see something… that was a very authentic idea being promoted in our building and the learning that came from that project was incredible.”
2016 Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The 2016 first place winners in Southern Alberta’s Caring For Our Watersheds competition were Centennial High School students Kaylee Nishizawa, Rebecca McCollister and Nicole Stringham, with their project “Save The Trees, Use The Trees”
These students were concerned about water conservation and the use of herbicides and pesticides in their community. When researching these issues, the students became interested in the use of mulch on gardens and flowerbeds. Mulch helps inhibit weed growth, retain soil moisture and prevents frost heaving and soil temperature fluctuations. Armed with information on the benefits of using mulch, the students organized a “Community Mulch Day”, where residents could come to the local community centre between 10:00 and 2:00 to pick up free mulch to use on their gardens and flowerbeds.
To encourage people within their community to take advantage of the fee mulch, the students distributed thousands of flyers to residents in their South Calgary community, informing them of the event and of the benefits of using mulch in their yards.
The “Community Mulch Day” was a huge success! Hundreds of citizens came to the Mid Sun Community Centre to pick up free mulch, provided by The City of Calgary. The students were there to provide information on the benefits of using mulch, and to help people load the mulch into their vehicles.
This project was made possible by a number of sponsors, including: Caring for Our Watersheds, The City of Calgary Parks, Greengate Garden Centers, atr and the Mid-Sun Community Association.