Centre of Water Excellence for Youth

Centre of Water Excellence for Youth
Living Lakes Canada’s Centre for Water Excellence delivers youth-specific programming to promote water literacy through educational programs, an exploration into emerging technologies in this field, and support for the implementation of stewardship projects.

Centre of Water Excellence for Youth


Key Takeaways:

  1. The Centre of Water Excellence for Youth delivers a multitude of Living Lakes Canada water stewardship projects and education programming targeted at youth engagement.
  2. Many of the impacts of climate change on water have disproportionate effects on youth, who will be particularly impacted over time.
  3. This project serves youth aged 12-29 including those who might not typically see themselves participating in water stewardship, STEM studies or careers, including Indigenous, female, LGBTQIA2S+ identifying youth, and racialized minorities.

Centre of Water Excellence for Youth

The Living Lakes Canada Centre of Water Excellence for Youth brings together a multitude of youth-focussed endeavours addressing the protection, restoration and health of watersheds in B.C.’s Columbia Basin and across Canada. The impacts of climate change, demonstrated by extreme events including wildfires, flooding and landslides, have disproportionate effects on youth as well as Indigenous peoples, rural communities and vulnerable populations.

The Centre of Water Excellence for Youth program promotes water literacy to empower youth in climate change action through educational programs, an exploration into emerging technologies in this field, and support for the implementation of stewardship projects. Youth have an increasingly strong social and environmental awareness, which has the power to transform our societies towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient future. (United Nations Youth Stats).


PROGRAM GOALS

This program has three complementary goals:

  1. to develop youth engagement in the protection, restoration and health of watersheds.
  2. to help build community climate resilience through water stewardship.
  3. to support the green economy by facilitating and documenting career and employment pathways.

CURRENT PROGRAM ACTIVITIES

Living Lakes Canada continues to develop and expand its work with youth, exploring opportunities to equip young people to meet the water challenges they will face tomorrow. Check back here to learn about new projects. This page will be updated as additional programs are added. 

National Lake Blitz: Youth Volunteer Monitors

From May to September annually, the National Lake Blitz program encourages individuals across Canada to care for their favourite lakes. Living Lakes Canada helps to normalize water stewardship by providing simple monitoring tools to facilitate community-based volunteer lake monitoring, making it accessible to the general public. More than 30% of Lake Blitz volunteers self-designate as youth (under 29 years). Lake volunteers collect and upload data to an open-source platform. Alongside the Lake Blitz, Living Lakes Canada offers a Lake Biodiversity Photo Challenge to raise awareness around the health of Canada’s two million lakes. This photo challenge also includes a ‘Kids’ category for children 12 years & under.

Biomonitoring training for Youth

Living Lakes Canada delivers Biomonitoring for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities throughout Canada.  Annually, approximately 65% of participants receiving Living Lakes training in CABIN & STREAM & iTrack protocols are youth, keen to learn and be a part of the solution for freshwater health in their communities.

Groundwater Monitoring Program & Selkirk College School of Environment and Geomatics  

Each year Living Lakes Canada’s Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring program works with 90 first-year Selkirk College Students enrolled in the school of Environment and Geomatics. The students participate in several labs to receive hands-on experience in methods used to monitor volunteer observation wells, groundwater movement, and hydraulic connectivity. An on-campus observation well allows students to monitor groundwater and collect data as a part of the Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program. The program tracks groundwater levels in aquifers throughout the Columbia Basin and shares the data publicly to support the effective management, protection, and sustainable use of groundwater.

Hydrometric Monitoring & Selkirk College School of Integrated Environmental Planning

Selkirk College’s Integrated Environmental Planning students gain hands-on experience each spring by participating in a hydrometric monitoring field lab with Living Lakes Canada’s Kootenay Watershed Science program. The students learn how to accurately measure the flow rate of a stream using salt dilution. Understanding stream flow (i.e., the volume and speed of moving water) is important for many reasons. It’s a critical consideration when planning new builds close to a water source and can help to ascertain flood risk. This information is also needed when making water licensing designations.

Wetland Restoration & the Youth Climate Corps 

In collaboration with Wildsight's Youth Climate Corps, Living Lakes Canada delivers a two-week immersive program of water quality and quantity monitoring and wetland restoration. The program also explores lake water quality testing and biomonitoring techniques to determine stream health. Conservation efforts centre around beaver conservation, encouraging these ecosystem engineers to stay and support wetland restoration with their activities. The program provides a hands-on collaborative snapshot of water monitoring and aquatic habitats conservation in the Columbia Basin and the relevance of both to climate change resilience.

Watershed Discovery with KYAN & ʔaq̓am Guardians in Training

Kimberley Youth Action Network (KYAN) and ʔaq̓am‘s Guardians in Training program partner with Living Lakes Canada to offer youth water monitoring mentorship and watershed awareness. Teenagers from these two communities are introduced to basic water monitoring principles and practices. They use dissolved oxygen and turbidity meters and check water conductivity and pH levels in their shared watershed. This collaboration gives young people of different ages and backgrounds a chance to work together to understand how important water and the environment are to their neighbouring communities.

Girls on Ice

The Girls on Ice program gently explores STE(A)M careers in a wilderness setting. It enables girls aged 14-18 to join a tuition-free guided expedition in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. The young women join Living Lakes Canada, Inspiring Girls Expeditions, Wildsight and Alpine Club of Canada on a multi-day adventure led by professional female scientists, experienced wilderness guides and artists. This expedition allows women to explore the glaciers of BC while gaining experience in field sciences such as high elevation lake monitoring.    

Research Questions with University Programs

Living Lakes Canada regularly engages with university programs most typically via research questions. Engagements have been made with students from the UBC’s Sauder School of Business' Master of Management and its Sustainability Scholars programs. Recent questions have explored how to identify sustainable funding strategies for the Columbia Basin Water Hub database and how to integrate Indigenous knowledge into the Foreshore Integrated Management Planning protocol – a federal protocol for surveying lakes to determine lake foreshore health.

Workshops for Youth

Living Lakes Canada offers a variety of workshops each year, many designed for youth participation. Two recent examples include a Columbia Basin Hydrology Introduction workshop and a LakeKeepers Training workshop. The Hydrology Introduction workshop has worked with students from the University of Northern British Columbia and Selkirk College. It discusses many of the issues faced by Living Lakes Canada, from monitoring techniques, to restoration, to policy development initiatives. The LakeKeepers Training workshop is a co-hosted event, with the BC Lake Stewardship Society (BCLSS). Participants spend 1.5-day exploring techniques to determine water quality, lake health and understand lake ecology.

Living Lakes Canada Interns

Living Lakes Canada offers opportunities for youth to share their passion for water conservation while gaining work experience. Our summer intern program offers students an opportunity to complete various tasks assisting different Program Managers and collaborating with the team to share their expertise. Interns come from across Canada as well as some international universities, typically within study fields of environmental science and/or water management.


PARTNERS

  • ʔaq̓am’s Guardians in Training
  • Alpine Club of Canada
  • BC Lake Stewardship Society
  • Earth Rangers
  • Girls on Ice Expeditions
  • Kimberley Youth Action Network
  • Selkirk College 
  • University of Victoria 
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • Wildsight

CONTACT

To learn more contact Deputy Director Andy Miller: andy@livinglakescanada.ca

See Andy's profile.

 

Centre of Water Excellence for Youth

Status - Active


Categories


Regions
British ColumbiaColumbia BasinNational
Collaborators
AcademiaCommunity groupsFirst NationsGovernment – FederalGovernment – ProvincialMunicipalityNGOsRegional District
Types of Work
AssessmentCitizen ScienceCommunity Based MonitoringDataMonitoringProtocol DevelopmentRestoration

News and Updates


Resources


Funders & Contributors


Stronger BC Real Estate Foundation
Watersheds BC Telus Friendly Foundation

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