This beautiful video was made by McKaylii Jawbone from Témiscaming, Quebec, a member of Kebaowek First Nation. McKaylii is one of the alumni from a 2-year restoration project in partnership with Kebaowek First Nation. Three large walleye spawning shoals were constructed at restoration sites identified in consultation with community elders, … Read More
Sunny’s motivation to join the Water First Internship program was because he lost two nieces due to the mercury contamination in the English River.
News of the Water First Internship program came to Sunny through a poster that a friend handed him. He signed up immediately. When he got the … Read More
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
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
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
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:
- Post this image or share your own social post in
“We can make a difference by bringing the information we have learned back to the community,” shares Noah Mokoush.
Over the years, Noah has been inspired to take on community education projects. Everything from local concerns about stray dogs to diabetes studies and environmental projects. He shows his care through … Read More
“I started working with Water First because I want to gain more knowledge about restoration and water quality analysis,” shares Lawrence Mameanskum.
Lawrence is a Water First Environmental Intern from Kawawachikamach. He has been working on water quality and restoration projects for Naskapi Nation in partnership with Water First. Last … Read More
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
“It just makes logical sense” shares Stephanie Trussler, board member of the Peter Gilgan Foundation. “The crisis of clean water is such a large problem and we need to address it from all angles. Water First has a logical and wonderful solution. And they empower Indigenous youth to be … Read More
We recognize the devastating effects that COVID-19 could have on First Nations communities.
Where many drinking water challenges persist and available resources can be stretched thinly even at the best of times — especially in remote locations. The importance of working with our community partners has never been so clear. … Read More
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
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
On July 25th, Water First took part in a public screening of Patagonia’s newest documentary, Artifishal, at the Station on the Green in Creemore. The event was well attended by both the general public and local water stewards, including the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) and the Nottawasaga Steelheaders… Read More
Water First is very excited to be hosting Clayton during the Creemore Festival of the Arts during the weekend of October 5th and 6th from 10am to 4pm.
Born and raised in St. Catharines, Clayton Samuel King is of Potawatomi descent and a member of Beausoleil First Nation. … Read More
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
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
Each year, Water Canada recognizes and celebrates the achievement of people, projects and technology that address and improve water issues in Canada through the Water’s Next Award. The Water First Internship was one of the finalists for the 2019 Water’s Next Award in the category of Projects and Technology – … Read More
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
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
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
Youngest of the group, 23 year-old Kacie McLaren is an Algonquin from Kebaowek First Nation. She has an Environmental Technician diploma from Canadore college. She heard about the fish habitat restoration project from her dad, and decided to apply because as an environmentalist she is passionate about protecting mother nature.… Read More
Before starting the restoration project, Ivan was working with Land Management at Kebaowek First Nation in various forestry-related jobs. As the mentor of the group, Ivan shared extensive knowledge about the traditional lands and waterways surrounding the community.
He said that he applied for the mentor position because it gave … Read More
“Not only did we want to make a difference in the Kipawa Lake fishery, but we also wanted to learn about our land and all the ways we can help preserve the ecosystem; and through this project we were able to accomplish that and much more.”
25 year-old McKaylii Jawbone, … Read More
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
Last week from March 19th-21st, Water First staff and our interns from Kebaowek First Nation visited G Theberge School in Témiscaming, Québec, to share the details from our recently completed fish habitat remediation project with students. Children and youth from Kebaowek First Nation are bused to this school, so it … Read More
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
On a fall day in Saugeen First Nation, students were struggling with some more-challenging-than-usual planting conditions. After completing science workshops the day before at their school, these Grade 7 and 8 youth were excited to put their new knowledge to practice by planting a combination of 450 white spruce, white … Read More
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
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.
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
On January 24 people braved the freezing temperatures and gathered at the Eagle Dome at Kebaowek First Nation to celebrate the completion of the Walleye Habitat Restoration project, a partnership between Kebaowek First Nation and Water First.
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
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
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
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
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
As part of Science Literacy Week 2018 and funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience grant, Water First collaborated with Saugeen First Nation to host Water Science Days — Watershed Restoration.
This two-day event was held at G C Huston Public School, where … Read More
Water First is excited to be participating in the Creemore Festival of the Arts this year during this coming weekend of September 29th & 30th, 2018! We will be showcasing one of Canada’s foremost Native artists, James Simon Mishibinijima.
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
Last week, CBC Radio Morning North host Markus Schwabe interviewed Kendra Driscoll, our Water Quality Specialist, about the Internship Program on Manitoulin Island. You can listen to the interview here, on cbc.ca.
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 visited Kikendaasogamig /Cape Croker Elementary School and the Chippewas of Nawash community for two days of Hands on Water Science Days in May, courtesy of NSERC Science Odyssey Days 2018.
Students spent a fun, interactive first day with four in-class water science workshops learning about the … Read More
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 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
Over the past year, Water First and Kebaowek First Nation collaborated on a restoration project to repair a damaged historical walleye spawning site at Bois Franc, Lake Kipawa. The restoration team included members from Kebaowek Land Management, staff from Water First, and consulting biologist Richard Rowe of FRi Ecological Services.… Read More
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
At the end of March, Maclean’s published an editorial written by John and Bob Rae with the opinion that training and education are key to addressing boil water advisories. It will only be through collaboration and integrated training in the communities that a sustainable solution will be created.
You can … Read More
In February 2018, the David Suzuki Foundation released the second annual progress report on the effort to eliminate boil water advisories in First Nations, Reconciling Promises and Reality: Clean Drinking Water for First Nations. The report singled out our Water First Internship as an example of a successful initiative … Read More
Alex Cartagena has worked a lot of jobs since high school – in carpentry, in forestry, and at the quarry. When that last job at the quarry ended due to a shutdown, he found himself unemployed, with two children and bills to pay.
The Water First Internship is a ticket … Read More
Alex Nahwegahbow obtained is Operator-In-Training certification and Water Quality Analyst certification, two goals that he set out at the start the internship. “This is a great opportunity,” he said. “I like this work, and it’s a good job to get into.”
Alex completed one year of a Police Foundations diploma … Read More
“A lot of people are oblivious about the water,” says Amy Waboose. “But for our culture, water is life. It’s important, and I try to teach my son the same.”
Amy is now working full time at the Whitefish River First Nation Water Treatment plant as an Operator-in-Training and Water … Read More
An avid outdoorsman, Cassidy Beaudin is keen to turn his Water First Internship experience into a job as a treatment plant operator.
“Water is the key to life, I’ve always known how important it is,” he said. “And I really like being part of making clean water.”
After graduating high … Read More
When Chelsea Antoine Debassige first heard about the Water First Internship and the training it provides, she thought, “What on earth is a water quality analyst?”
The Water First Internship has given Chelsea a chance to work in her home community (the most remote on Manitoulin Island). Chelsea is currently … Read More
Dallas Goodfellow was born in Sault Ste. Marie, and moved to Aundeck Omni Kaning (AOK) when he was in Grade 3. He had a job at the AOK water treatment plant while he was in high school, and has worked since high school at a local fish farm.
The Water … Read More
Naomi Mandamin was born in Sudbury, and moved to Wiikwemkoong when she was in Grade 5. As a result, she says with a smile, “I’m not a bush person, I’m a city girl.”
She’s also been fascinated with science for as long as she can remember. “I’ve always wanted to … Read More
Paige Manitowabi is excited to take what she’s learning as a Water First intern and combine it with her growing interest in traditional Anishinaabe ways. That mix of knowledge, she thinks, could be the key to solving a lot of issues.
“It’s new knowledge – I’m learning a lot,” she … Read More
A young man with an activist’s heart, Eric Vautour has been involved with water and environmental issues since high school. As a teenager he worked on Sheguiandah’s Green Plan Project, a program that engaged youth in environmental actions like shoreline cleanups. Following high school, he did a contract as a … Read More
Chris Wemigwans saw the Water First Internship as a chance to learn valuable skills and lay the groundwork for a career in his home community. Chris was hired by Aundeck Omni Kaning (AOK) after the internship and is now working as an OIT at the local water treatment plant.
Born … Read More