The Journey of Water
Water is one of our most important resources. In many countries, including Canada, people take water for granted. Clean, healthy drinking water is available simply by just turning on your faucet, but that’s not the case for everyone around the world. I wanted to show my students where our water comes from, how it gets from mountain glaciers to our homes, and then what happens to it once it goes back down the drain. With that vision in mind, my students and I began learning about The Journey of Water.
My school chose to offer Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) Multi-Cluster as a way to include community improvement projects in the wider school community. I have a passion for Outdoor and Environmental Education, so I wanted to do something through that lens. I chose to explore ‘water’ as our topic with an end goal of utilizing Yellow Fish Road as our final community outreach project. As a class, we began by learning about watersheds, the hydrologic cycle, and where Calgary’s water originates. We explored how the actions upstream can affect those downstream (including activities such as logging, recreation, and agriculture) and how these activities can leave a lasting impact on our water sources. Next, we discovered how the City of Calgary processes water for human use, treats waste water so it can be returned to our rivers, and the tools/systems that are used to manage stormwater. Toward the end of the semester, we tested water from our local wetland to see how healthy the ecosystem was (students tested for phosphate, nitrate, pH, coliform, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen). To their surprise, the water within the wetland was quite healthy and all tests came back within the healthy range. Lastly, students engaged in the Yellow Fish Road project, where we painted ‘rain only’ stencils near storm drains around our school and distributed door hangers throughout the community that provided information about the project and why it’s important for only rainwater to go down storm drains.
Reflection & Celebration
Time, I wish I had more of it! Once we started digging into this topic, we soon realized that this could be an ongoing project with numerous entry points and extensions of the learning. Although I am happy with what we accomplished, I think we could have explored much deeper had we been able to afford more class time.