How and When Did Water School Begin

The watershed group places very high value on the education of local youth.  The Town of Stratford provided water conservation education to Grade 5 students at Stratford Elementary for 4 years; the program was brought into the classrooms over a few days and the children were taught the basics of water use and how to conserve.

Fast forward to 2011; an initiative was developed to expand the current program to include watershed education. As a fun side note, Kelley Farrar (previous Watershed Coordinator) remembers how the entire process began… “I remember when Billy (Ramsay) came into my office, sat down, looked at the map on my wall and said “you know, I don’t really know what a watershed is. And if the Stratford water technician doesn’t know what a watershed is, I bet a lot of other people don’t either”. This was the start of a conversation about how to teach people about watersheds. Thus, water school as it is now was created.” 

What is Water School, Anyway

“Waters Cool”, a day-long field trip to the Stratford Town Hall, annually introduces hundreds of Grade 5 students from a variety of local schools to water conservation and various aspects of watersheds in an interactive and activity-based environment.  Each class attended both presentations, allowing them to learn where their water comes from and how to conserve this precious resource. Some of the topics covered in these classes include (but definitely not limited to!): 

and much, MUCH MORE!

Students are taught using a variety of interactive models and tools, and are hands-on throughout the day as they learn about how the environment ‘works’ around them.

Who are the Instructors for Water School?

The current instructors include SAWIG's Watershed Coordinator (Kaylee Busniuk), Town of Stratford Environmental Sustainability Coordinator (Maddy Crowell), City of Charlottetown Water Coordinator (Alistair Ozon), SAWIG's Project Manager (Lily McLaine), and Ellen's Creek Watershed Coordinator (Emma Doucette). Previous instructors and the creators of WaterSchool are Billy Ramsay and Kelley Farrar.

What has Been the Feedback From This Program?

The success of the program was immediately apparent, even back in 2012.  Teachers praised the high-energy lessons; one stated “I don’t know how I am going to teach science in the classroom from now on”.  Students were thrilled at the opportunity to participate in demonstrations and activities, and several kids were heard to say it was “the best day EVER”. We have had feedback via emails and phone messages, as well as face-to-face with parents who say that their kids have turned into the ‘water police’ at home!

All of our instructors would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported the development of this project since 2011, and we look forward to seeing you again next spring.