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Fall 2021

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Fall 2021

  • 7 min read

Quarterly Newsletter

Fall 2021

The latest news and updates on our programs.

Contents:

Bimose Drinking Water Internship Graduation

The Drinking Water Internship interns have officially graduated. These interns endured 18 months of hard work and dedication, long hours of studying and working, and adapting to COVID along the way – and thrived. Members from Bimose Tribal Council, our partners, and Water First staff were there in Kenora to help the graduates mark the occasion.

The graduation ceremony started indoors, where interns were presented their certificates.

There was a calm sense of accomplishment in the room; faces full of achievement and excitement for the next step. For many, they will continue to support access to clean water in their home communities.

During his ceremony speech, Jon Kocis, HUB Water Treatment Services Manager of Bimose Tribal Council gave sound words of advice (adapted from Herbert V. Prochnow):

”If you want to leave footprints in the sands of time, you have to wear work boots.”

He continued with: “So, when you get out there on your first day — lace those boots tight, put that invisible cape on, stand tall and strong like the heroes that you are, and enjoy the journey.”

When the ceremony migrated outside, we were joined by Judy DaSilva, an Elder, activist and Environmental Health Coordinator from Grassy Narrows First Nation. She led a water ceremony that was paired with a delicious feast of traditional foods.

We are all so incredibly proud of the graduates and excited for their next chapter. They are now newly minted members of the Water First Alumni Network, where they will continue to be supported to grow and have opportunities to support each other.

Taking Water Quality Testing to the Great Outdoors

In June of 2021, the Drinking Water Internship with Waabnoong Bemjiwang Associations of First Nations began, in partnership with Gezhtoojig Employment & Training, Anishinabek Nation and all the participating communities began. Since then, the cohort of interns have been busy studying, writing provincial certification exams and working in their local water treatment plants.

The Drinking Water Internship program includes a week of training on the Introduction to Environmental Water.

Donor Report 2021

Despite the challenges this past year we have accomplished so much, and are filled with hope and gratitude. As an organization, Water First is grounded in a solid foundation of building trust, meaningful relationships, and lasting results. So, with ongoing support from our donors and through listening to our Indigenous community partners, we committed to adapting in order to continue working together. To celebrate a year of perseverance, adaptation and breaking the mold, we created a Donor Report featuring highlights from this past year.

The group travelled to Killarney for the week where they went outside every day to explore and test the waters of the lake, rivers and streams. They practiced with environmental water testing tools, recording the data they gathered and discussing what it all means when it comes to water quality.

The group travelled to Killarney for the week where they went outside every day to explore and test the waters of the lake, rivers and streams. They practiced with environmental water testing tools, recording the data they gathered and discussing what it all means when it comes to water quality.

Outdoor Program Leads to Grade 9 Geography Credits

Nine Grade 8 students of Beausoleil First Nation participated in an 8-week outdoor experiential learning program with Indigenous School Water Program instructors and earned Grade 9 Geography credits.

Collaboration in Labrador Began This Summer

This summer, Water First’s Environmental Water Program began a new project in collaboration with Sheshatshiu (Shé-ha-ji-u) Innu First Nation (SIFN) in Labrador.

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