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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 coming to understand the essential role that water plant operators have. Especially during their community’s response to COVID-19. 

The only time people think about where their water comes from is when they can’t drink it. They don’t realize people are working 24 hours a day, testing daily, weekly, monthly, to make sure the water is good.

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

Water First would prefer to be in communities, side-by-side with our partners. But the health and well-being of Indigenous communities is our top priority. So instead, our team has been listening carefully and adapting our programs. 

Water First is developing remote and interactive online programming tailored to our interns. We are working closely with each intern to understand their own personal response to the situation. This is top of mind when creating options and exploring digital solutions, especially for remote areas. In partnership with our friends at the Walkerton Clean Water Centre, our drinking water interns were shipped textbooks last week. This will allow our team to tutor interns from afar and help prepare the group for upcoming certification exams.

We are connecting with First Nations school partners, sharing learning resources like these from the National Ground Water Association. We are also supporting students, including a high school group from Lake St. Martin First Nation who are keeping the momentum going on their Water First environmental initiative. Students are creating handmade wooden signs promoting sustainability. As well as planning for gardens in their community, which was recently relocated. As our partners determine plans for the rest of the school year, we will continue to adapt our programming and support. 

As always, our focus will remain on pursuing lasting results and inspiring a passion for clean water.