In late October, the Indigenous Schools Water Program visited Laura McKenzie Learning Centre in Temagami First Nation. Programming for the week took place entirely on Bear Island and included a combination of on-the-land and in-class instruction.
The team delivered our ‘What’s in your Water?’ program to grades 3/4/5 and 6/7/8.
The week began by building a model of the Lake Temagami watershed, using tools to represent wetlands, forests, buildings, and pollution sources.
At a small beach on Lake Temagami, students then built a topographic model of Bear Island in the sand. A ‘pollution source’ was later added, and a simulated rainstorm demonstrated how point-source pollution negatively affects a watershed.
Students were taught how to use tools like multiparameter readers to take before and after samples of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and conductivity throughout these lessons.
On another day, the students visited the water’s edge beside the community’s water treatment plant.
They extended their knowledge and use of scientific tools by measuring parameters to include water and air, wind speed, hardness, alkalinity, pH, TDS and conductivity.
Plankton nets were used to collect samples of microorganisms from the lake to examine under a microscope.
The students took a dive into the water treatment process with the Pollution Solutions lesson.
The lesson started with a replica of a polluted water body, complete with metal pollutants, sludge, oil and top litter.
Using ‘Water First Dollars’, groups could ‘purchase’ tools to clean and separate the pollutants from the clean water.
Lastly, students tabulated the data collected throughout the week and interpreted the story behind the numbers.
They received a Water Ranger’s kit to continue with a regular water sampling project in their community. Community elders made suggestions for areas of interest to be tested along Bear Island’s shores.
Some fun, cross-program excitement: Nick Chapman, an intern with the Drinking Water Internship Program in the Georgian Bay area, joined to assist with program delivery and instruction throughout the week. Nick began the week shadowing workshops and was leading activities on water filtration by the end of the week.
We were very fortunate to present alongside two elders, who provided invaluable connections to local culture. Boshk Aguonia and Paula Potts.