Soil and water

‘Water’s Cool’: Charlottetown area leaders learn from water conservation program for Grade 5 students

Some city workers and politicians in the Charlottetown area went back to school last week – at Water’s Cool School.

The Water Conservation Program for Grade 5 students was originally created by City of Stratford staff in 2011.

The program expanded to include Charlottetown students in 2019, and to date over 3,000 students have participated.

“Water School gives children the opportunity to learn about water conservation and watersheds,” said Kaylee Busniuk, coordinator of the Stratford Area Watershed Improvement Group. “We hope to help them conserve water in their own lives and also better understand and protect the ecosystem.”

Approximately 320 students will attend the Water School for two weeks in 2022, in addition to this special event for staff and politicians in Stratford and Charlottetown. (Mare McLeese/CBC)

The program has grown over the years and now occupies two classrooms at Stratford Town Hall to hold all exhibits and activities.

“On the water conservation side, children can see the difference between a high-flow toilet and a low-flow toilet, as well as high-flow and low-flow showerheads,” Busniuk said.

“On the watershed side, they have a really cool watershed model that shows kids how water interacts with different human activities, such as agriculture and homes.”

Practical experience

Over 320 students will attend Water School for two weeks in 2022, in addition to this special event for staff and politicians in Stratford and Charlottetown.

“The idea of ​​having the advisors and staff here is to make them aware of what we teach children in their communities and hopefully inspire them to get involved and support our project in the future” , Busniuk said.

“It was great. We were happy to see that they were participating in our practical activities, just as enthusiastic as the children.”

The model of a watershed allows participants to see how water interacts with different human activities, such as agriculture and homes. (Mare McLeese)

One of the town councilors in Stratford was already familiar with the program as her daughter had also attended water school.

“I had experienced it a bit through his eyes, but sitting here today what I will take away from it are the visuals and the number of opportunities you have to save water in any given day. “said the adviser. said Jill Burridge.

“I love the model of a watershed and all the different parts that can contribute to the pollution of a watershed. I won’t forget that.”

Getting your hands on it is what will create those memories and really solidify water conservation and watershed management in the minds of those kids.—Jill Burridge, Stratford City Councilor

Burridge said she liked how hands-on the program was.

“Getting involved is what will create those memories and really strengthen water conservation and watershed management in the minds of these kids.”

Stratford County Jill Burridge was already familiar with the program, as her daughter had also attended water school. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Burridge said she’s thrilled the program has now expanded to include Charlottetown and hopes it can reach even more students in PEI.

“If we can develop this program further, that would be great,” she said.

Burridge said the city offers a free water verification program for residents and other programs to encourage water conservation.

“Water is a finite resource. It’s a finite resource in the world, and it’s our responsibility to conserve as much water as possible in our region,” Burridge said. “Programs like the water verification program are things that we can all personally do to contribute to these water saving goals.”

‘Good ideas’

Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown also attended the session on behalf of his city.

“As a former teacher at Prince Street School, the town of Stratford offered this program to our students a couple of times while I was there. Great response,” Brown said.

“I hope kids will inspire their parents and extended family to emulate what they’ve learned, so they can put these great water-saving ideas into practice.”

In the water conservation presentation, students can see the difference between a high-flow toilet and a low-flow toilet. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Working with Stratford even inspired the mayor of Charlottetown to expand the water testing program in his community.

“The City of Stratford offers a free water audit. I spoke to our Standing Water and Wastewater Committee about this just a few weeks ago,” Brown said.

“I was told we offered auditing, but it’s income-based. And I said, look, guys, let’s open it up to everybody.”

The Fix A Leak station shows students other ways to conserve water. (Mare McLeese/CBC)

One of the presenters from the Stratford Area Watershed Improvement Group attended water school when she was in grade 5.

“I was definitely one of those kids who really, really found an interest in watersheds and the environment, at a young age,” Lily McLaine said.

This model shows how pollution can spread through soil and into groundwater. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

At the end of the water school demonstration, city staff and politicians recited a water conservation pledge, just like students do at the end of their session.

“We often hear comments from children saying to their parents, ‘Oh, we shouldn’t put this in the toilet, because it will cause a clog’, or ‘Oh, guys, you need to make sure we check to see if it’s there are leaks. in our toilets and in the shower for shorter periods,” Busniuk said.

“Through those comments, we know it really has an impact on them.”