The Great Waters Challenge is officially re-launching in British Columbia. The challenge is a province-wide program for youth that facilitates school teams in planning and hosting water celebrations and days of action.

From traditional Indigenous knowledge to scientific discoveries, youth will showcase diverse stories about water to a broader audience through an exploratory challenge where they are tasked with showcasing their fundings in a creative way! The school team then receives a water celebration planning workshop hosted by a Youth Advisor. School teams are eligible to win exciting prizes from partners, like Ocean Wise Canada and the Vancouver Aquarium, and field trips from local environmental and educational organisations, such as the Salish Sea Centre and The Maritime Museum of BC.

The Great Waters Challenge is currently recruiting classroom teams from grades 3-12 from across the province! Teachers are encouraged to sign-up for the program at https://waterlution.org/GWC/.

“Participating in the Great Waters Challenge taught us many things about our local water systems and the relationship that Indigenous Peoples of our area have had with water.  Learning about the challenges that our global water systems face, students felt compelled to take action!” said Karen Mostad, a Grade 6/7 teacher from Nanoose Bay Elementary on Vancouver Island whose class participated in the challenge last year. Mostad found the experience memorable and valuable for her students. “We started an initiative at our school to reduce the use of single use plastics through educating our community and providing alternatives. The Great Waters Challenge was a springboard that took our learning on an exciting journey and helped us each develop as social activists and global citizens.”

The challenge was developed by Waterlution, and will be presented by ten volunteer Youth Advisors from communities across British Columbia. These inspired water leaders will support participants in the challenge by facilitating classroom workshops and webinars. The Youth Advisors are part of a Canada-wide team committed to promoting water stewardship and conservation across the country.

“After joining the Youth Advisor Board, I was immediately welcomed into an engaged and dedicated community,” said Kirsten Mathison, a Victoria-based youth advisor has already felt the benefits of the program. “My growth and development has been supported as I develop my personal leadership style, and I’m excited to share my passion for water and see what the youth teams across the province create.”

In conjunction with the Great Water Challenge, the Youth Advisor Board is writing and publishing a book of short stories highlighting the diversity of watersheds and ecosystems across the province.

The program’s knowledgeable and trained volunteer Youth Advisory Board inspires school teams to uncover water stories in their community, explore water’s ecological and social impacts, and inspire a new generation of water stewardship.

Stay tuned for the exciting water projects and celebrations that will be developed through The Great Waters Challenge over the coming months! For more information contact Olivia Allen, Waterlution’s project lead for Youth Programs at olivia.allen@waterlution.org.

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