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Screenshot of Ryan teaching over video conferencing.

Update on Drinking Water Internship — Bimose


At the time of our last newsletter we were pivoting our Internship program to remote and interactive online programming. Now that our interns have a few months of online learning experience we have settled into a routine. Each week, the interns receive a Mission Pack. It includes the week’s lesson, … Read More

Photo of a lake

An Anishinabek Perspective on Nibi (Water)


By: Ogamauh annag (Sue Chiblow)

Aniin, Boozhoo, Ogamauh annag qwe dishnecuz, jijauk dodem, Ketegaunzeebee donjeba, Anishinaabe, Ojibway indow. My English or status card name is Susan Bell Chiblow, most know me as Sue Chiblow and I was born and raised by my dad in Garden River First Nation with 4 … Read More

Amy Waboose, Water First Internship graduate, at work in her home community.

First Nations skills-training program has partnership at heart


Though it’s relatively well known that many First Nations communities don’t have access to clean drinking water, the complicated reasons why – and relevant solutions – are less than obvious. The Trudeau government is working to end all long-term drinking water advisories, prevent short-term advisories from becoming long-term and improve … Read More

Take the clean water challenge

Take the Clean Water Challenge


Water First is calling on you to take part in the Clean Water Challenge! Help us show support for essential workers by thanking your local water treatment operators who provide clean drinking water straight to your tap. 

Here’s the challenge:

Read More
Jamie Lee Parenteau, Water First Intern, Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation

Water plant operators have an essential role


The last few weeks have been an interesting challenge. And to be honest, Water First is still navigating our new reality. We realize more than ever how our focus on building meaningful partnerships over the past 10 years truly makes a difference today. 

Recently, an intern shared their pride in … Read More

News release: Bimose Tribal Council and Water First Announce New Internship to Address Water Challenges in First Nations Communities


Next Generation of Indigenous Water Treatment Workers Are Finding Solutions Through Training in Water Trades and Sciences

The Bimose Tribal Council in northwestern Ontario and Canadian charity Water First Education & Training Inc. announce their partnership to deliver a drinking water treatment and environmental water management internship program for young … Read More

Empowering First Nations youth to develop a passion for water science


Over the past number of months, Water First has been creating a new school-aged youth education pilot project, Growing Roots. Through this project, Water First is partnering with different communities to expand our youth water science education programming to maximize the involvement of Indigenous youth, leading to long-term environmental action … Read More

Out on the lake in Naskapi

New environmental project kicks-off in northern Quebec


This past spring, Water First and Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, located in northern Quebec near the border of Labrador, started a collaboration on a new environmental project. 

This three-year project includes both a contaminant study to establish baseline mercury and heavy metals concentrations in the soil, water, and traditionally harvested … Read More

Student from Wahgoshig First Nation checking water sample results

A Paws-itive Tree Plant at Wahgoshig First Nation


Water First returned to Joseph H. Kennedy Public School in the summer of 2019 for more water science workshops and another watershed remediation project. However, when the students arrived at the chosen tree-planting location, the Water First truck was stuck on a muddy road somewhere else.

Without any tree planting … Read More

Students from Quinte Mohawk school using water science tools.

Quinte Mohawk students become water stewards


This past May, students from Quinte Mohawk School became stewards of the water. Students from multiple grades learned how to analyze the water quality of their school’s onsite wetland with Water First staff. They also learned about the impact of human activity on the health of the water and the … Read More

Water First Intern Mckaylii Jawbone out on the lake

We called ourselves The Food Crew


Written by McKaylii Jawbone of Kebaowek First Nation, Water First Intern

I was a part of a two-year project to restore and enhance walleye spawning habitats in my community. Working with Ivan and Kacie made the project run so smoothly, we worked well as a team and we always had … Read More

Picture of walleye under water

Put the big fish back… and other fish facts


Walleye spawn in the spring as soon as the ice is out by depositing eggs over rocks and cobble shoals. The fertilized eggs fall into the cracks and spaces between the rocks to safely incubate and hatch.

Female walleye can carry up to 26,000 eggs per pound of body weight. … Read More

Kendra, Naomi and Eric presenting at the AFN Water Symposium

Alumni Update


Since graduating, the Interns have been meeting regularly to stay connected, to improve the program, and to pave the way for future interns. They recognize what a powerful experience they have had and want to support future cohorts to be even more successful.

Water First has recently implemented a Professional … Read More

United Nations World Water Day logo

Today is World Water Day


Today, Friday March 22nd, marks World Water Day. This year’s theme is “Leaving no one behind,” which speaks to the fact that in 2019, there remain billions of people around the world without access to safe, clean water. In Canada, many Indigenous communities remain without such access.

One of the … Read More

Water First and Science Literacy Week 2018 with Saugeen First Nation

Roots are claws that hold the earth in place


Waterside tree planting is important both to the local waterways and the people who live adjacent to them. Tree roots hold onto soil, preventing unnatural amounts of sand and dirt from entering the water systems, which can have a negative impact downstream and damage aquatic ecosystems. Trees provide organic material … Read More

Cover of photography book "Drought"

“Drought” by Peter Hadfield & Cameron McKaque


A collaboration between Toronto-based cinematographer and photographer Peter Hadfield and graphic designer Cameron McKague has created a stunning book featuring 48 images of drained public swimming pools. The project is a critical exploration of Western society’s relationship with water and all proceeds will come to Water First.

Visit www.droughtbook.co for … Read More

Water First staff and internship graduates at the 24th Annual Aboriginal Water and Wastewater Association of Ontario Training Conference and Tradeshow in Thunder Bay, Ontario

Water First at AWWAO Conference


On January 29-31, 2019, Water First team members attended the 24th Annual Aboriginal Water and Wastewater Association of Ontario (AWWAO) Training Conference and Tradeshow in Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

Two graduates of the Water First Internship program, now Operators-In-Training at their communities’ water treatment plants attended the conference. Water First also … Read More

Tree planting with youth from Matachewan First Nation

Water Tree at Matachewan First Nation


This past October, Water First collaborated with Matachewan First Nation to deliver a series of educational workshops at the local school and a tree-planting field trip in the community.

Students in the Indigenous program at Kirkland Lake District Composite school joined those from the First Nation to plant pine and … Read More

Water Canada Magazine

Internship program profiled in Water Canada magazine


The Water First Internship Program was featured in the January/February 2019 edition of Water Canada, a publication dedicated to covering a range of Canadian water issues. This edition of the magazine focused specifically on issues impacting Indigenous communities, as well as the work of individuals, communities and organizations addressing … Read More

Report cover for Achieving a Sustainable Future

Water First Internship Highlighted as Innovative Initiative in Government of Canada Sustainable Development Report


In October 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada released a report detailing the Government of Canada’s efforts in realizing the 13 aspirational goals set out in its 2016 to 2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

For each goal, the report sets out why each goal is important, overall progress made towards … Read More

Water First Interns and Advisors

Make a real difference to a long-standing problem


I was so proud to see the 10 interns graduate.

Not only because we had been through so much together over the last 15 months. And not only because I knew how much they had learned and grown both personally and professionally. But because looking at these 10 smiling and … Read More

Students at a Water First GUSH workshop

Schools are getting on board with GUSH!


With the 2018/2019 school year underway, we are starting to book GUSH educational workshops in school boards across southern Ontario.

Last school year, GUSH workshops were delivered over 375 times, reaching over 9,000 students in Ontario. GUSH Workshops introduce Grade 7 and 8 students to the challenges many First Nation … Read More

Water First Internship graduates

News release: Indigenous youth graduate from Water First Internship Program


Ten youth from seven First Nations achieve certifications to address drinking water and environmental water challenges

Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation, Manitoulin Island – Ten Indigenous youth were honoured this morning for successfully completing the Water First Internship Program at a graduation ceremony held on the powwow grounds of Aundeck … Read More

Water First: Birchmount's Walk for Water

Birchmount’s Walk for Water


This past April, Birchmount Park Collegiate Institute held a Water Walk to raise awareness about the lack of access to safe, clean water. The Toronto District School Board published an article about it online. You can find the update here, or read it below.

 

Recently, staff and students … Read More

Water First Interns using Esri software

Internship Program: Blending Traditional Ecological Knowledge with Cutting Edge Technology


Water First Interns from across Manitoulin Island were brought together for a week in May to explore traditional knowledge along with new technologies.

Interns heard from guest speakers about traditional ecological knowledge and Elders discussed the changes in the migratory patterns of fish and animals. Elders shared their observations about … Read More

Shout Sister Choir logo

Fundraising concert to benefit Water First


Shout Sister Choir has chosen Water First as their non-profit of choice for two upcoming fundraising concerts in York region. The first event is Saturday June 9, 2018 at Eastridge Evangelical Church in Whitechurch-Stouffville. The second will be on Tuesday June 12, 2018 at Victory Baptist Church in East Guillimbury. … Read More

Water First: Water Quality Study

Minister’s Annual Report on Drinking Water 2017


At the end of last year, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change published it’s annual report that provides an overview of the work Ontario is doing to protect drinking water. Through the Ontario Community Environment Fund, Water First has received grants to help improve drinking water in nine … Read More