In celebration of Canada Water Week (March 17-23) and UN World Water Day (March 22), the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s (OBWB) Okanagan WaterWise program has launched its 7th youth challenge and is inviting young people to be climate heroes.

“We are all witnessing and living the effects of climate change, right here in our own valley,” said Corinne Jackson, communications director of OBWB. “Young people are increasingly aware of the extreme weather events we are experiencing, from historic flooding that threaten homes and close beaches, to repeated droughts that require conservation to ensure enough water for food production and returning salmon. They’ve also experienced record-breaking temperatures, and wildfires affecting the air they breathe, the water they drink, and more.”

“But it’s not good enough to be aware,” said Jackson. “We want to encourage and empower young people to take action. The fact is we have solutions and it’s time to put those solutions into action for a secure water future. One of the best ways to encourage protection of this valuable resource for future generations is to educate our children and youth, and provide them with a voice to teach others. We are inviting the youth of our community to tap into their inner hero, to act on climate, and invite others – kids and adults – to join them.”

This year’s Okanagan WaterWise Challenge invites local classrooms, as well as youth that are five to 18 years old, to “Be a Climate Hero” by participating in various activities that can improve our water and our planet.  A special page has been set up for the challenge here. By clicking on the “Challenge” button, teachers, parents, and youth will find contest details, including activities to learn more about the issues we are facing, and challenges to tackle these issues head on.

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Challenges include joining the popular #trashtag effort to clean wetlands, creeks and beaches. Wetlands are important for many reasons including flood protection and as carbon sinks. Other potential activities include planting indigenous trees to absorb carbon and give off oxygen. As part of the contest entry, participants must submit a multimedia entry (e.g. video, photo essay, drawings, etc.) that demonstrates their super power efforts and invites others to join in.

Participants will be entered to win water prizes including, for class entries, a 2-hour boat charter on Okanagan Lake for an on-the-water classroom experience to learn more about the water in the valley. Entries are due April 30, 2019. Full details are available here.

The partners of the youth challenge include: City of Vernon, City of Kelowna and YMCA H2O Adventure & Fitness Centre, City of Penticton, The Okanagan Science Centre, Regional District of Central Okanagan’s Environmental Education Centre of the Okanagan, Kelowna Cruises and Cruise Okanagan.

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