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A Hydroponics Project Keeps Food Local
Port Alberni, BC

A group of high school students from Alberni District Secondary School recently learned how to minimise the environmental impact of timber harvesting. The Alberni Valley has an active logging industry and is also home to a number of important salmon bearing rivers. Students learned how forestry operations can be undertaken without adversely affecting fish habitat in surrounding water bodies. Under the supervision of a local logging contractor, the class installed a number of sediment control fences around an active timber harvesting site. The effectiveness of these fences was evaluated by measuring the amount of silt collected upstream of the fence.  As part of the project the class completed periodic inspections and maintenance. Observation and formal measurements confirmed that significant amounts of material were retained by the fences and were thus prevented from entering fish bearing streams.

Sustainability from a First Nations Perspective
Winnipeg, MB

Students from Weston Public School in Winnipeg, Manitoba traveled to the Sagkeeng First Nation reserve in order to meet their pen pals from Sagkeeng Junior High School and compare student life in a city and on a reserve. Prior to visiting the reserve, Weston students learned about local water issues, and wrote letters to their pen pals on the reserve, sharing information and pictures about their school and what they were learning about water. The Weston students raised awareness about clean water issues in their community by starting a “pennies for water” campaign, and set up a variety of water stations in their classroom to do activities such as water testing, making water filters, and urban planning. After finishing their water unit, Weston students visited students on the Sagkeeng reserve to share their perspectives, and the many facts they learned about water. The students from Sakgeeng Junior High School gave Weston students a tour of their reserve, and shared their perspectives on water, and what it was like to live on the reserve. Students performed a play titled “How the Fly Saved the River,” and sang “The Bear Song” and “The Grandmother Song” Together, the students learned about the water perspective from a First Nations elder, including a lesson on the “water drum.”

A Hydroponics Project Keeps Food Local
Cambridge- Narrows, NB

The Cambridge-Narrows Community School Eco-Kids learned about where their food comes from, how far it travels to get on our plate, and what distance/time means to local food security. In order to find out how far their food travels the Eco-Kids made collages of the food they normally eat, and charted how far that food had to travel in order to get to them. They found that most of the food they were eating wasn’t local, and came up with ideas for how to eat more sustainability—including purchasing local food, and growing their own food. Students planted seeds in their classrooms in containers with a soil base. They even set up two hydroponics systems, which included fish ("fish garden"). The Eco Kids compared their plant growth in water and in soil. They created posters of their project, including a poster demonstrating the nitration cycle using fish. To find out more about local food systems, and our food connections, the Eco Kids visited a local Nursery, and shared their project with other students in their school-- encouraging their peers to eat locally!

There's A Wetland In The Backyard!
Enderby, BC

The bog behind MV Beattie School was converted to a wetland, with rocks in the shape of the local Shuswap River. In order to take advantage of this new wetland area, the students at MV Beattie decided to create a green space and study zone by planting trees around the wetland. On Earth Day, students planted 60 seedlings, and teachers planted rose bushes and willow trees. To learn more about water conservation, students held a Water Conservation week at school, and all primary students spent a morning playing ecosystem games in a station approach. The new wetland space is a shared space that is admired and used by both students and the community!

Rube Goldberg Water Filters
Miami, MB

Four rural schools in Southern Manitoba, including Miami School in Miami, MB,  came together to create a Rube Goldberg Activity to design a water filtration system, and learn more about water issues in their community. A Rube Goldberg is a machine contraption or device that is deliberately over engineered to perform a very simple task in a very complex system. Students were asked to gather recycled household items in order to generate a system to filter water from a nearby pond. Students worked in groups in order to make their Rube Goldberg water filter, and were given 1L of water with various sediments included, which they had to filter through their hand made system. Prior to building their water filter, students did research, activities, and lessons on different water issues, water consumption, and various filtration methods.  The Rube Goldberg was a challenging science activity for students, and it helped them learn more about safe water consumption, and all the different sediments and pollutants that can affect our water systems. Students from Miami School presented their water filter to their entire class, encouraging their peers to become more engaged in water issues as well.

School-wide Water Festival
Schreiber, ON

The students at Schreiber Public School hosted a water festival. The focus of their festival was water conservation.  To organize the festival, Ms. Blackwood’s class began with an interactive inquiry bulletin board which asked students at Schreiber Public School what they wanted to know about water. The students’ answers inspired the types of stations and activities that were at the water festival. On the water festival day, students started with a water walk and then watched a video about how people get access to drinking water around the world. This helped students compare their lifestyles, and their access to water, with the lifestyles of others—many of whom are less privileged and have to walk great distances and carry their water every day. Students then broke into groups, visiting 6 different stations at the water festival to learn more about water conservation. The stations included: rain barrel painting; water taste testing; water obstacle race; world water; water filtration; and oil and water. In addition to the festival, students at Scriber Public School toured the clean water and the waste water treatment plants to learn about the cycle of water in their community.