Skip to content
Water First logo

Winter 2019

About Us / Quarterly Newsletter / Winter 2019

Winter 2019

  • 5 min read

Quarterly Newsletter

Winter 2019

The latest news and updates on our programs.

Internship program profiled in Water Canada magazine

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. In addition to featuring the internship and its successes, Water Canada also included the perspective of one of the inaugural graduates from the program.

In addition to featuring the internship and its successes, Water Canada also included the perspective of one of the inaugural graduates from the program. Eric Vautour, who was the valedictorian at the August 2018 internship graduation ceremony, spoke of the importance of the program to him and his community. 

Tree planting with youth from Matachewan First Nation

Water Tree at Matachewan First Nation

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.

Water First at AWWAO Conference

Water First at AWWAO Conference

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 had the opportunity to take part in the tradeshow and was a guest speaker at the event’s banquet.

AWWAO acts as a voice for First Nation Plant Operators in Ontario. Among its many objectives, AWWAO promotes the importance of providing safe, potable water to communities, and advocates the importance of maintaining high standards of wastewater operations.

Learn about AWWAO

Students in the Indigenous program at Kirkland Lake District Composite school joined those from the First Nation to plant pine and cedar seedlings in a community garden, as well as a cedar hedge on the shore of Turtle Lake to reduce erosion into the water. Before the kids began their tree-planting, an Elder performed a smudging ceremony and gave a short teaching about the history of the area’s local plants and vegetation.

Water First has worked previously with Matachewan First Nation to restore a traditional walleye spawning shoal in Beaver Lake. After the shoal was successfully rebuilt, signs were installed to both acknowledge the funding for the project as well as to provide facts about walleye, how to tell if a fish is male or female, and the impact of overfishing during spawning time. Leveraging the opportunity created by the fish facts sign, the community created an educational walking trail nearby with signs providing information about the boreal forest and native plants & animals.

Wrap up ceremony at Kebaowek First Nation

Wrap up at Kebaowek First Nation

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.

Before & after restoring a spawning shoal

Throughout the two-year project, three large walleye spawning shoals were constructed at restoration sites identified in consultation with the community elders, restoration biologist, and Water First staff.

We would like to thank the community for their support throughout the project and the interns for their dedication and hard work to make this such a successful fish habitat restoration project.

March 22 in World Water Day

The United Nations has a goal: clean water for all by 2030.  This World Water Day (WWD) is about tackling the water crisis by addressing the reasons why so many people are being left behind. The website for WWD has resources for you to learn more about the problem, read stories about current projects, and tools for use on social media.