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 Jamie Pettit
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From: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 10:12 AM -0400
Subject:Water Festival Teaches Important Lessons
Grade 4 students throughout Bruce and Grey Counties were joined by teachers, parents, secondary student mentors, and other volunteers for an interactive lesson in “all things H2O” at the Grey Bruce Children’s Water Festival. This year’s event from May 16 to 18 was once again held at the Chesley Community Centre where a broad range of activities educated students on important topics such as water science, conservation, preservation and technology.  

Image of student balancing and carrying water buckets during the Pioneer Water RaceFor example, the Pioneer Water Race challenged students to physically move water from one location to another in order to gain an appreciation of how much water we use and waste in a day.  Oil Slick allowed students to capture oil from water using adsorbent materials so they could see how difficult this process is as well as the environmental impact.  A number of activities designed by Walkerton District Community School secondary students were also featured, including the Water Totter, which helped demonstrate that most of our body weight (70 percent) is made of water.  

Image of students getting their hands dirty in a clay experimentThe benefits are aplenty for secondary student participants as well.  Through assuming a mentorship role with the Grade 4s, the older students are able to report back on their learning in their own classroom activities, while also building confidence and leadership skills through positive role modeling.  According to Nancy Griffin, longtime committee member and Conservation Education Co-ordinator of Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, the event is “cross curricular”.  Aside from science and geography, a number of skills are addressed for students at both the elementary and secondary levels.  Many of the secondary participants, who at one time attended in Grade 4, gain a new perspective in a leadership role.        

The Grey Bruce Children’s Water Festival has been offered annually since 2000 thanks to the support of organizations such as Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Grey Sauble Conservation, Sydenham Sportsmen’s Association, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Source Water Protection (Conservation Ontario), among other groups and industry partners that are focused on water resource protection and water quality improvement.  The organizing committee, which includes representatives from these organizations, works in partnership with local school boards to provide this opportunity that is well suited to the Grade 4 curriculum.  

For more information or to get involved, please visit

Image of students participating in a game of Dripial PursuitImage of the Water Totter created by Walkerton District Community School students
Image of students engaged in a water themed obstacle courseImage of students engaged in a water themed obstacle course
Image of students experimenting with beds of rocks, soil and grassImage of students testing water in a muddy activity
Image of table with tooth brushes, dish soap and containers of water as part of the Oil Slick activityImage of school buses lined up next to the Chesley Community Centre