World Water Day is celebrated annually on March 22nd. On World Water Day, we reflect on our relationship to water and consider the value of this biologically, economically, and culturally essential substance.
Living in southern Ontario, we enjoy an abundance of freshwater.
The water of the Otonabee River is the beating heart of Peterborough, fed by a network of smaller creeks weaving between and below sprawling buildings.
Many residents in cities like Peterborough may take for granted the relative abundance of freshwater and safe drinking water. People living in communities with safe drinking water may overlook and misunderstand the challenges posed by a lack of access to safe drinking water in neighbouring communities.
At the time of writing, Curve Lake First Nation, located just 30 minutes north of the City of Peterborough, is under a boil-water advisory. This particular advisory was issued on September 20, 2018, and the history of boil-water advisories in Curve Lake goes back years before that.
Curve Lake is only one of 58 indigenous communities Canada-wide currently affected by boil-water or do-not-consume advisories. Globally, 2.2 billion people lack access to safe water. Having convenient access to safe water is a right that we must not take for granted.
This World Water Day, we encourage you to reflect on your relationship to water and to renew your commitment to the care of water. We encourage you to share your learning and dedication to water with others, and we want to support you along the way.
We know that water education needs to go beyond the classroom. At GreenUP, we are always working hard to bring water education into the community. In celebration of World Water Day 2020, we are excited to announce our newest water education tool.
Our Wonders of Water H2O To Go kits allow you to take water education into your own hands. Whether you are a teacher, a youth group leader, a parent or guardian, our H2O To Go kits have everything you need to bring water education to children and youth aged three through 13.
The H2O To Go kits were created as part of the Wonders of Water program. Each kit includes a full set of materials and detailed instructions, allowing you to easily facilitate fun and engaging explorations of water no matter your experience or location. Each kit consists of a combination of activities including active learning, quiet time, outdoor exploration, and experiments.
“The H20 To Go resources gave us fun and engaging activities,” says Kiley Percy of Clarington Public Library, who piloted H2O To Go activities with children aged two through 10 in the summer of 2019.
“These resources took us and the children to new levels in our conversation about the protection of the water. H2O To Go is flexible because you can choose the activities you want to do. A lot of the activities can be easily adjusted for different age ranges or skill levels. The kits provided fun and engaging activities and helped impart knowledge to children in a meaningful way.
Kiley also mentioned that, at the outset, her staff were not confident about facilitating water education, but that the kits gave them everything they needed.
Donna Lilly is a local girl guide leader who piloted the H20 To Go kits with her girl guide groups.
“My guides were interested in exploring themes connected to environmental stewardship,” Lilly says. “The H20 To Go kits were fantastic. The activities were very hands-on and my guides enjoyed doing ‘real science’ — that’s how they described it. There was a lot learned through the activities, and we had a lot of fun too.”
Four of the kits reflect themes related to how we understand and protect water (science, technology, protection, and conservation) and the fifth kit meets the unique needs of families, with activities tailored to the home. Activities are inspired by those delivered each year at the Peterborough Children’s Water Festival.
GreenUP’s H20 To Go kits will be available for sign-out at the GreenUP Store (378 Aylmer St. N., Peterborough) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. starting on Saturday, March 21st — the day before World Water Day (the GreenUP Store is closed on Sundays).
After World Water Day, kits can be picked up at the GreenUP Store on Saturdays from 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The kits must be returned by the Thursday just shy of two weeks after pick-up. Renting a kit costs $25 and all funds go towards the maintenance of the kits.
To reserve your kit online (beginning on March 21st), visit www.greenup.on.ca/wonders-of-water/.
Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, these resources have been created as a part of the Wonders of Water Program, in partnership with Peterborough Children’s Water Festival.
You can find out more about the annual festival at pcwf.net.