Lower Trent Conservation: Teaching the critical importance of H2O

Ontario environmental organization engages public in multiple water protection efforts

It’s our most precious natural resource, but many of us don’t treat it that way.

“You don’t need to leave the water running for the entire three minutes while you brush your teeth. And that’s just one example,” notes Sandi Ramsay, communications specialist with Lower Trent Conservation (LTC), an environmental protection organization based in Quinte West, Ontario.

After severe low-water conditions in the region in 2016, followed by flooding in the Great Lakes basin last year, the annual Tri-County Children’s Water Festival—organized by Lower Trent Conservation in partnership with local institutions and non-profits—is more important than ever.

Every year in May, the two-day festival encourages about 1,000 young students in the region, from Grades 3 to 5, to become better water stewards in their homes, classrooms and community.

“Protection and conservation of water are paramount to our community’s health—socially, economically, environmentally,” says Ramsay. "We deliver these types of messages to young people in hopes that they not only internalize and practice it, but also that they successfully transfer this knowledge to their families and friends.”

The Tri-County Children’s Water Festival provides youngsters with hands-on learning opportunities about water and the importance of water protection and conservation. This year’s edition focused on four main themes:

  • Water science and technology;
  • Water conservation and protection;
  • Water health and safety; and
  • Water and society

“We had some really wonderful Indigenous representation at the festival this year. Danka Brewer, a member of Kokum Makwa Cultural Enterprises, was at the festival to teach children, parents, teachers and nearly 100 volunteers traditional knowledge of water,” Ramsay says. “She also performed an Indigenous water blessing ceremony and hosted a drum circle at one of the activity stations.”

The Tri-County Children’s Water Festival is one of several ongoing LTC initiatives involved in its youth environmental education program, Connecting KIDS with NATURE. They include:

All of these initiatives have educational components, both in and out of the classroom, that reinforce water conservation. Through Connecting KIDS with NATURE, students talk about local environmental issues and how they can be part of the solution.

Enbridge’s recent $5,000 donation to LTC helped more than a thousand students and nearly 100 volunteers deepen their understanding of water conservation and protection at the 2018 Tri-Country Children’s Water Festival.

It’s one example of Enbridge’s commitment to sustainability—helping to meet North America’s growing energy needs in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible.

This year, LTC is celebrating 50 years of building healthier communities, improving the quality of life for residents, and ensuring a more vibrant regional economy.

“We believe a healthy ecosystem promotes community well-being. Education and outreach are critically important to engaging people in environmental sustainability today . . . and into the future,” says Ramsay.