Pilot Mound Rain Gardens

2019, Pilot Mound, Manitoba, Canada

Colin Hildebrand, Joryn Buchanan, Donovan Kimball, and Riley Kimball are all students at Pilot Mound Collegiate in Pilot Mound, MB. When they were posed with the question of what they could do to improve their watershed, their thoughts took them outside to their schoolyard.

“Our problem lies in the excess water that our school ground produces and contends with… So how do we help manage excess water and potential pollutants?”

In speaking with the school’s custodian, they were able to see where drainage water flowed, accumulated, and moved across the school property. They realized that this runoff water could be picking up contaminants and sending them into local waterways and could also be contributing to flooding issues in their area. They approached their local conservation district (CD), the Pembina Valley CD, to discuss ways to mitigate these issues. Together, they came up with the idea of rain gardens along the natural swale running through the school yard to filter runoff, increase water infiltration, and reduce pollutants entering nearby waterways.

“We [will] create three rain gardens [along the existing swale]… The rain gardens will slow the water using berms, and the native plants will create more infiltration into the soil due to their large root systems.”

Cache In, Trash Out

2019, Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada

Mason Cameron and Tia Erickson are students at École Edward Schreyer in Beausejour, MB. Their plan to help their watershed was a “Cache In, Trash Out” event. They were able to spread awareness for their event within the geocaching community, and the turnout was great! One of the community members who attended the event said,

“We are so glad we made it to this incredibly well-organized event. The games were really fun!”

By using entertainment and a unique method of education delivery, people were able to enjoy learning about their watershed, cleaning their community, and other things that they can do to help every day!

Seed Bombs for Students

2019, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Holly & Tori, students at Henry G. Izatt (HGI) Middle School in Winnipeg, MB, were concerned about plant diversity, invasive species, and bee populations. They came up with a plan to address all three issues: seed bombs! Their plan includes educating young students at an elementary school before they enter HGI by providing them with seed bombs and a little workshop on how to plant them and what the benefits are.

“This is important for our community because our school has recently placed beehives on the school roof. We are worried that the bees will not have enough pollen to support the ecosystem and their hive. Bees are important to our watershed because they pollinate plants and crops… Planting wildflowers around the community will provide food for the bees to help grow our bee population and raise awareness.”

Biodegradable Sunscreen

2019, Shoal Lake, Manitoba, Canada

Manitoba Biodegradable Sunscreen Implementation

Bailey Ostash and Nadia Nickel are students at Shoal Lake School in Shoal Lake, Manitoba. Living in the Lake Winnipeg Watershed, they became worried about the algal blooms appearing on lakes in the area.


“On a hot sunny day, you are going to the beach. What’s one of the first things you do? Most people, as soon as they get to the beach, put on sunscreen. Then, they go into the water… One of our main concerns is that sunscreen [can be] full of many harmful chemicals that harm our watershed.”

Their solution was to create their own homemade, natural, biodegradable sunscreen. They will educate students in their school and people in their community on ways that they can reduce their impacts on their watershed with simple solutions like eco-friendly sunscreen. They plan to set up at local farmer’s markets and craft shows to spread their message and their product.

“It has been such a rewarding project. [Bailey & Nadia have] inspired me to learn more and get more involved with other groups and activities.” – Benita Shwaluk, Teacher, Shoal Lake School

Cigarette Butt Disposal

cigarette butt disposal implementation2019, The Pas, Manitoba, Canada

Margaret Barbour Collegiate students Blaze Head & Christian Tilling wanted to make their school yard a cleaner place. They looked at the trash on the school property and noticed that, much like many places, the majority of the trash was comprised of cigarette butts. They decided they wanted to do something about it, so they came up with a plan to reduce the amount of cigarette butt waste they were seeing by having a disposal container installed.

“This project will help our environment by reducing the cigarettes and chemicals going into our watershed and contaminating our rivers and ground water.”


OILaway student action Manitoba2019, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Nicholas Kiesman from West Kildonan Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba noticed that there was a lack of awareness in how everyday products such as used motor oil should be safely disposed of. He reached out to a local oil change facility to see what he could do to help.

OILaway student action ManitobaHe partnered with his local Great Canadian Oil Change to put on an event so that people could bring in their used oil and other household products for proper and environmentally safe disposal. He was able to educate community members about disposing of these products any time at drop-off sites such as the Great Canadian Oil Change that he hosted his event at.


“We [will] be able to educate the community on how to properly dispose of used motor oil, and explain to them why taking care of our watershed is so important. While doing this, we have the ability of making sure that the hazardous substances in used oil are not unloaded carelessly into our environment by those who think it’s not a big deal. Because honestly, it is. It’s time that careless thinking stops. It’s time to inspire the community and take action.”

OILaway student action Manitoba

Boyne River Cirriculum

2019, Carman, Manitoba, Canada

Hannah Petrie was a high school student at Carman Collegiate in Carman, Manitoba. She has always had a passion for education, so when she was thinking about ways she could improve her watershed, of course teachers came to mind. What better way to spread the word about healthy watersheds than giving the resources to those who teach our youth!

Hannah held a Professional Development day for teachers within the Boyne River Watershed to learn how to properly educate their students on their watershed and what they can do to keep it healthy.

“In the end, helping someone understand how they can positively affect the environment is a challenge, but can have personal, as well as global impacts. I believe teaching the young students will promote a lifestyle that contributes to a healthy environment, since they are the future.”

Hockey SokStraps

2019, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Alex and Tyler are high school students at Garden City Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba. While coming up with an idea on what they could do to improve their watershed, they considered things they did every day. Both of them play hockey, and they noticed that after just one game or practice, there was a large amount of plastic waste from sock tape. They came across a local company that had a solution: reusable hockey sock straps!

They provided their hockey team members with SokStraps to use instead of plastic hockey tape. Many of the students liked the way they worked and made the full-time transition to SokStraps.

“The high use of sock tape is a problem in our world that has gone under the radar for far too long. We have never known what sock tape really does to our watershed, but now we do. It’s time that we become the solution, and work to fix our past mistakes and the damage that we have caused.”

Making Beauty Sustainable

Make Beauty Sustainable MB student action finalist2019, Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada

Jenna Kowerko, a grade 12 student at Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School, was concerned about the effects that the waste her school’s Cosmetology Department could be having on her local watershed. She did some searching and found a company called Green Circle Salons that would take some of that waste and dispose of it in a more environmentally friendly way. Green Circle Salons [is] North America’s only sustainable salon solution to recover and repurpose beauty waste (

According to their website, this program allows salons to repurpose and recover up to 95% of the resources that were once considered waste! You can actually watch the weight of “waste diverted” climb in real time on their home page!


“This would be a great deal of change at a small price and it is shameful to still think that our salon and other salons have not progressed to this eco-friendly level. It is probably because most salons do not know about this affordable idea. It is our job as the future generation to spread awareness to help save our environment.”

Green Salons Logo

Reducing the Amount of Styrofoam

Reducing Styrofoam Student Action Manitoba2019, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

John and Roy are students at Holy Cross School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. When asked the question, “What could you do to improve your watershed?”, they came up with the idea of reducing the amount of Styrofoam used at their school. The chemicals used to make Styrofoam get into the food we eat off of them, and later can leach into our watershed. Although there is often a recycling symbol on the bottom of Styrofoam products, most recycling depots won’t actually take them.

The boys found a Canadian company called Greenmunch that specializes in environmentally friendly disposable products. Since it wasn’t feasible to have reusable products in their school without a way to wash them, this was the next best thing! Compostable products that will break down in a landfill much more quickly and without leaching chemicals into the soil that can end up in our water.

Reducing Styrofoam Student Action Manitoba