2019, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Ava and Allynah are students at École Leila North Community School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They wanted to reduce the amount of disposable plastics ending up in our watershed, so they came up with a plan to distribute reusable sandwich containers to students at their school.
“Many people throw items away not thinking of the damage it can lead to. Because of that, there is more pollution and it is not only harming us, but animals as well. If you look around, you will always see garbage on the ground, no matter where you are.”
They did presentations to each class to educate their fellow students while handing out the containers. The school’s canteen partnered with the girls to help promote the use of their containers and to offer a discount on drinks if students brought their own bottles to fill.
2019, Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada
Sarah Cadotte, a student from Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School, wanted to tackle the issue of microplastics in our watershed that come from fibres that drain out of our washing machines when we clean our clothes. She found a product that helps filter out these tiny pieces of fibre by attaching to washing machine drainage hoses. She obtained permission to have three of them installed within her school division. The filters can be emptied into the trash where the plastic pieces can be properly disposed of, rather than making their way into our water systems.
“If I can inspire my community to take action, even in something as small as installing a filter, then maybe there’s a greater hope that eventually, more people can become more economically aware of what’s going on in our waters and how even the smallest things can make great impacts.”
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.”
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!
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.”
2019, Shoal Lake, Manitoba, Canada
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
2019, 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.”
You may not know this, but plastic toothbrushes create major toothaches for our environment.
When student Jenn Fossay from Warren Collegiate in Warren, Manitoba, learnt that plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to decompose, she knew that she had to come up with a solution.
To raise awareness about the negative effects of plastic toothbrushes on the environment, Jenn wrote and illustrated a children’s book to educate the next generation. The book takes readers through the life-cycle of a toothbrush lost down the storm drain. Once the toothbrush makes its way into the environment, it begins negatively impacting the lives of marine animals. Continue reading
2019, 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.
He 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.”
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.”