2016, Daysland, Alberta, Canada
Bria Kroetch, Brooke Hochausen, and Alarie Guhle from Daysland Alberta were tired of seeing kids fill up a glass of water to take one sip, then pour the rest down the drain.
After learning about their Battle River Watershed and the regions limited supply of fresh water, the girls decided to try to save drinking water, one cup at a time. They designed a “thirst measurement cup” to help kids make the connection between their thirst, and how much they should fill their cup.
These three girls did a presentation on watersheds and conserving water to all 250+ students in their school. After the presentation, they handed out the cups to all students in grades 1-6.
The cup will not only help students save water on a daily basis, but also embed a habit of water conservation. The goal went beyond saving just the water in the cup, it was also to get students thinking about how they use water, and how they can conserve it. Homes and the school in Daysland should now be seeing lots of water being saved, in the cup and beyond!
The cup has 4 measurement lines indicating “Almost Quenched”, “Just need a drink”, “Thirsty”, and “Dry as Dust”.
2016, Lacombe, Alberta, Canada
Lacombe Composite High School has an active agriculture class and eco team, which have resulted in an amazing school greenhouse, aquaponics system and outdoor gardens.
One of the challenges that many schools face is having their gardens watered in the summer months when students are away.
The other challenge is watering the gardens efficiently to save water, while helping the plants grow.
Rachel Reitsma and Avy Lamb, students in the LEAFS initiatve, decided to conquor both challenges by installing a drip irrigation system in their gardens. The irrigation tube (shown left) is dug into the soil to water the plant’s roots while minimizing the rate of evaporation. The system could also be set on a timer to water regullary, with options to delay watering if there is significant rainfall.
The other cool project implemented at the school this year is a Beewise- a home for native pollinators. Pollinators such as bees are facing a drastic decline in their population. This can harm the plants, including our food, which rely on pollinators.
This Beewise pollinator home provides much needed habitat, while ensuring the school’s gardens get the pollination they need.
2016, Bashaw, Alberta, Canada
Bailie McDonald in Bashaw wanted to help protect her watershed by protecting wetlands. She learned that wetlands are important habitat for lots of animals, help improve water quality, and help store water for dry times.
Bailie wasn’t sure how she could protect a wetland, but knew that Ducks Unlimited did lots of great work in her area, including a site called the Pileated Project near her home.
After discussing her desire to help protect wetlands with her family, Bailie decided that one thing she could do was to bake some yummy treats and host a bake sale at her school. The money she raised could then be donated to Ducks Unlimited to help with their Pileated Project.
The bake sale raised $200 which was then matched with the Caring for our Watersheds implementation funding. She presented the $400 cheque to Ducks Unlimited staff and volunteers at a local event.
This project proves that no matter a person’s background skills, they are able to help improve their watershed!
2016, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada
Emily Jackson from Wetaskiwin, Alberta decided that she could help improve the watershed by
reducing the amount of disposable water bottles used at her school.
Her Caring for our Watersheds project involved installing a water-bottle fill-up station in the main foyer of the Wetaskiwin Composite Highschool. Not only that, but she worked with the student council to sell reusable water bottles and post information about reducing waste and the benefits of reusable bottles next to the station.
Emily is happy to leave this legacy of down cycling at her school as she heads off to university.
“Down Cycling”, which is to use less, is even better then recycling, which still uses a lot of energy and resources.
2016, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
2016 marked the third time Simran Panesar had entererd into the Caring for our Watersheds program, and the third time she was in the final competition.
Building on projects she had done in the past, in 2016 Simran wanted to incorporate tree planting and improving biodiversity at her new school, W.P. Wagner.
Her project was two parts, planting trees and putting up bird houses in the schools yard, which is part of the Mill Creek watershed.
To get help with the tree planting, Simran invited grade 6 students (who learn about trees and forests in their science curriculum) from her old school, A. Blair McPherson. The class was treated to a full day of activities including a pizza lunch, a leaf based art project, playing a biodiversity game, and finally, participating in planting trees.
The community organization Roots for Trees helped source the 45 trees, brought the equipment, and helped teach the students how to plant. The trees were a mix of native trees including Saskatoon, Lodgepole Pine, and Red Osier dogwood.
The bird houses have also been installed and are bringing more biodiversity to the school.
2015 Bawlf, Alberta, Canada
Leah Marshall, grade 11 student from Bawlf School, grew up on a farm in the country and had seen a lot of the native forests and grassland be removed for increasing agricultural land. When the Marshall’s started beekeeping as a new hobby, Leah learned more about the threats to pollinators, such as decreasing habitat and wanted to do something to help. Her idea was to encourage students to plant small flower gardens that would provide homes and food for pollinators. In her words:
“The premise of this project revolves around making a plausible and realistic difference in recovering the populations of local wild pollinators (primarily bees). We plan on doing this via both the distribution of perennial wild flower seed packets and the education of our youth in this major issue that impacts us as humans immensely”.
Leah decided to focus on getting the word and the seed packets to grade 7 students who had a biodiversity unit in their science curriculum. She contacted grade 7 teachers across the Battle River Watershed to ask them to teach their students about local pollinators, and in exchange would mail a class set of seed packages. Each seed package had an informational brochure so that the students could learn more about the project and pollinators. Leah sent out 500 seed packages, the flowers of which are now popping up across the watershed!
2015 Ponoka, Alberta, Canada
Avid golfers, Mina and Brooklyn from Ponoka were worried about what effects pesticides sprayed on the course would have on their watershed. As part of their Caring for our Watershed project proposal, they researched the effects of pesticides and solutions to reduce them. They found that birds are natural insecticides, eating many of the pesky insects that golfers dislike.
To build awareness of this topic the girls were present at the golf course spa event to give away information cue cards, cash wash coupons and natural beauty products. They also held a draw for a bird house. They hoped that the information and products would help people become more aware of what they use at home.
With help from local businesses and family, Mina and Brooklyn built 75 bird houses to put up at the two local golf courses (one house at each of the 55 holes plus extra) to encourage the natural reduction of unwanted insects. The golf courses were happy to be involved and support these young stewards. Mina and Brooklyn are happy to see their ideas in action and look forward to enjoying a round of golf with more beautiful birds on the course, and less pesticides in their watershed.
2014 Wainwright, Alberta, Canada
Ben Brunen of Wainwright Alberta wanted to help protect wetlands and the aquatic life that depend on them in his home town. After discussions with local biologists and the Town of Wainwrights’ Park and Recreation department, he decided that the best way to do that was install an aeration system in one of the main waterbodies in town.
The wetland Ben focused on was in Wallace park, in the heart of Wainwright. A popular place for residents and visitors alike, the wetland water quality and aquatic life had been suffering with increased algae, due to lack of oxygen in the pond. Because of the pond’s condition, fish were not able to survive, taking away a popular summer-time activity for Wainwright’s residents: recreational fishing. Having an aeration system would help the wetland as the fish and other aquatic life depend on oxygen, often depleted by high algae levels.
Ben, the youth representative of the town’s Parks and Recreation board, had the Town of Wainwright help support half of the project costs to buy an aeration system. The Parks and Recreation board emphasize supporting local companies, so they naturally turned to Art Matthews of Wainwright Plumbing and Heating to design and install the aeration system. The system was installed in early summer of last year.
The system has been very successful in increasing oxygen in the water, supporting an increase in aquatic life and decreasing algae, while adding to the pleasing aesthetics of Wallace park. An article in Wainwright’s newspaper in May of 2014 reported that the system is still functioning perfectly, and trout populations are healthy, allowing for recreational fishing to begin at the start of summer.
2014 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Simran Panesar was a finalist in the 2014 Central Alberta CFW contest. A grade 8 student from A. Blair McPherson School in Edmonton, Simran had a local and global perspective to her project.
Simran’s concern about her watershed was soil erosion. Erosion is a local issue on the banks North Saskatchewan River, and a global issue as well. According to scientist Tim Radford, 10 million hectares of land are eroded every year.
There were two parts to Simran’s project; Part 1 was to plant tree saplings by the North Saskatchewan River and Part 2 was to fundraise money for the Canopy Project.
Part 1- Tree Planting
Working with the Edmonton based organization “Roots for Trees”, three grade 6 classes from A Blair McPherson School went to Gold Bar park to plant trees. With instructions and equipment supplied, they were able to plant 463 trees. Simran personally visited each class before the trip to teach them about why they would be planting trees and how it will help the watershed.
Part 2- Canopy Project
The second part of Simran’s project was to raise money for the international Canopy Project. Over the past 3 years they have planted 1.5 million trees in 18 countries. For every dollar they receive they plant one tree in a place that needs them. To raise money Simran hosted a $2 showing of The Lorax movie. She also sold $2 tickets for a draw for some cool prizes donated by a local business Thurber Engineering LTD. Altogether, she raised $413 (or 413 trees) for the project!
2014 Forestburg, Alberta, Canada
Isaac Boddy entered the central Alberta CFW contest as a homeschooler and member of the Forestburg Golden Prairie 4H Club. his older sister Maven had been involved in the contest in 2013 so Isaac was ready and willing to take on the project, and see it through to its completion.
Isaac wanted to plant a variety of flowers that butterlies, moths and hummingbirds like with overlapping bloom periods creating a food source from spring lasting to fall. The garden would also provide a place for butterlies and moths to lay their eggs and will also be a beautiful garden for Forestburg residents to visit and enjoy.
Project partners include: the Forestburg Historical Society who donated the land for the garden. 4-H Canada provided $100 for seeds, and the local Golden Prairie 4-H club provided food for the planting day. Communities in Bloom also supported the project by having their summer student in Forestburg help water the garden. Local community members also supported Isaac by donating split rails and posts to make the garden.
A selection of native plants were planted in the garden including:
- Black Eyed Susan
- Butterfly weed
- Corn Poppy
- Blanket Flower
- Lemon Mint
- Partridge Pea
- Purple Coneflower
- Wild Bergamot
Isaac hopes that his project will have other positive effects on top of providing habitat and food for pollinators. By having his 4-H club involved he will be helping them connect to nature and understand the importance of pollinators while learning about plants and spending time outside. Forestburg community members will also benefit from the garden including the natural beauty and increased pollinators