Skip to content
Water First logo

Fall 2018

About Us / Quarterly Newsletter / Fall 2018

Fall 2018

  • 5 min read

Quarterly Newsletter

Fall 2018

The latest news and updates on our programs.


Indigenous youth graduate from Water First Internship program

Ten Indigenous youth were honored on August 20th for successfully completing the Water First Internship Program at a graduation ceremony held on the powwow grounds of Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation.

“We are very proud of the graduates, who have studied and worked hard since early 2017 to obtain certification in drinking water treatment and environmental water quality monitoring,” said Water First executive director John Millar.

Drumming at Water First Internship graduation ceremony

“These young women and men have shown incredible passion and commitment to building sustainable water systems in our communities, and today we honour that passion and commitment,” said Kevin Debassige, technical services manager for the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM).

The Water First Internship provides hands-on training and work experience in water treatment and environmental monitoring to Indigenous youth in their communities, leading to certification as a Water Quality Analyst and Operator-in-Training. These certifications are requirements to sample and test the water and to begin to work as a water treatment plant operator.

The Internship was developed in collaboration with UCCMM, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, and the Union of Ontario Indians, and delivered in seven First Nations on Manitoulin Island.

Science Literacy Week 2018

Science Literacy Week

As part of Science Literacy Week 2018 and funded by an 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 on day one we delivered several water science workshops to multiple grades in the school. On the second day, the Grade 7/8 class planted 120 seedlings of white pine, white cedar, and white spruce around the perimeter of a field adjacent to the Mino Bimaadsawin Health Centre and the Elder’s Building. In addition, 40 white cedar were planted along a berm adjacent to the community’s Six Plex. The students had a great time and Water First staff came away feeling thankful for the opportunity to be involved in this amazing educational event!

Schools are getting on board with GUSH!

With the new 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 communities in Ontario face in accessing safe, clean water. Students gain awareness about specific water challenges in an Indigenous community and have a great time learning science and geography with fun, hands-on experiments, and activities. Editor’s note: We no longer run the GUSH program and now focus our youth education component on Indigenous schools.

Reflections on Water: The Artwork of James Simon Mishinibinijima

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

Mish Mountain Series: Treasure Island by James Simon Mishibinijima

Mishibinijima is from Wiikwemkoong, Manitoulin Island, where we have just completed the inaugural Water First Internship program with great success. Mishibinijima will be sharing his work that reflects water and the Mishmountain art style. He has created a unique body of work over the past four decades which has attracted a loyal following in North America and overseas. In his work he underscores the wisdom of the Elders’ teachings as a way to foster respect and peace. He also emphasizes the interconnectedness of all life and calls upon nations to preserve our natural surroundings for the benefit of our children. The Creemore Festival of the Arts, presented by the Purple Hills Arts & Heritage Society and part of Clearview Township’s Small Halls Festival, is a weekend-long celebration of art — one of the annual events that have made the village of Creemore a destination for creative inspiration and discovery. Take advantage of this unique opportunity and visit the Water First office on September 29th & 30th between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.