Successful water stewardship outreach continues with Water Rangers’ Testkits

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Last summer, Living Lakes Canada partnered with the Water Rangers to engage volunteers across Western Canada to investigate their lake water quality by using the Water Rangers’ Testkits, providing the opportunity for a low-barrier, cost effective way to train youth and community leaders in water chemistry monitoring.

Trialled and tested against professional equipment for accuracy, the Testkits are built for communities, schools, and passionate individuals who want to learn about the health of local lakes, rivers, or other waterbodies.

The Testkit Monitoring Pilot Project was so well-received that Living Lakes Canada continued to offer this opportunity in 2021, this time by partnering with water stewardship groups across Canada and introducing the Water Rangers Testkits to their volunteers. Funding from TD Friends of the Environment supported the purchase of 12 Testkits.

“The kits provide a great way to conduct field work and build water monitoring skills while adhering to social distance protocols,” said Raegan Mallinson, Program Manager with Living Lakes Canada.

In addition to re-engaging participating groups from last year, including the Lake Windermere Ambassadors, the Columbia Lake Stewardship Society, and Wildsight Creston, Living Lakes Canada also used the Testkits alongside all eight of the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) training courses that took place during the 2021 field season to showcase other monitoring tools for water chemistry. Locations for these CABIN trainings included Whitehorse, Yukon; Rocky Mountain House, Alberta; and Kenora, Thunder Bay and Ottawa in Ontario. In B.C., one of the trainings involved the Columbia Headwaters Aquatic Restoration Secwépemc Strategy, a project run by the Shuswap Indian Band. Across all the trainings, participants who have been introduced to the Testkits have included Master’s students, retirees, families, and water stewardship volunteers.

“The kits can be used by anyone, anywhere, who is interested in monitoring the water quality of their lake, river, and wetland,” Mallinson said.

Living Lakes Canada’s newest program, an East Kootenay Youth Climate Corps training course offered in partnership with Wildsight that is taking place at the start of November, will also use the Testkits to demonstrate water stewardship and monitoring to participants ranging from 18 to 30 years old as part of a skills-building module.

“The water rangers kit has been a wonderful tool in engaging volunteers in the community. The kit is easy to use and connects us to larger water monitoring projects. It is also a great way to get our feet wet and collect baseline water data in our watershed. Thanks to Living Lakes Canada!” said Melissa Flint, Project Director with Wildsight Creston.

If you are interested in joining the movement of community-based water monitoring and getting involved please email raegan@livinglakescanada.ca.

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