Fresh water is fundamental - the reason we have life on earth. You might wonder why, in a country like Canada where fresh water is abundant; we need to focus on the preservation of it?
Canada is home to 20% of the world’s freshwater, yet most is not available to us because it is frozen or underground. We have about 9% of the world’s renewable (replenished by rainfall and inflow) freshwater, yet Canada only has 0.5% of the world’s population. This makes us very fortunate!
As citizens of a ‘freshwater-rich’ country like Canada, we have an obligation to make sure that our water remains abundant and healthy in order to sustain us, and the natural world well into the future. At FortWhyte Alive, we are embarking on an exciting new project that will educate about freshwater conservation and monitoring; and promote the Lake Winnipeg Foundation Community Based Monitoring (CBM) Network. Engaging citizens in Winnipeg about CBM will not only strengthen local awareness of water stewardship issues, but will also increase the amount of empirical evidence regarding water quality which will support stewardship action for health and environmental issues.
FortWhyte Alive’s Model Watershed program will engage the public through K-12 educational programs, public education and action projects and through partnerships with Universities and other stakeholders. Some of the goals of this program include:
- expansion of K-12 outdoor experiential education programming to include outreach services promoting water monitoring by schools within City of Winnipeg limits, enhancement of existing onsite K-12 programming to include training in water monitoring protocols as determined by the Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF) and partners;
- provide workshops and programming to the public and FortWhyte Alive volunteers to engage an increasing number of citizens in water monitoring and remediation projects, as well as aquatic invasive species (AIS) detection and prevention;
- build partnerships with local Universities to increase the use of FortWhyte Alive’s Watershed as a model for urban watershed protection, restoration, and as an outdoor classroom for undergraduates in fields related to water quality; and,
- work with partners towards adoption of standardized protocol for Community Based Monitoring (CBM) and data sharing in Manitoba.
This initiative has been made possible through the generosity of these community-minded organizations:
- City of Winnipeg Department of Water and Waste
- RBC Blue Water Project
- Loblaw Water Fund
- The Lake Winnipeg Foundation
- Honda Canada Foundation
- FWA Volunteers
To learn more about FortWhyte's water monitoring workshops for educators, please visit www.fortwhyte.org/