Online Peterborough Children’s Water Festival throughout May

April 16th, 2021

During a 2019 celebration of World Water Day, Agnieszka shares her favourite water memory with her fellow grade five classmates at Monsignor O’Donoghue in Peterborough as part of GreenUP’s Wonders of Water program. (Photo: Karen O’Krafka)

By Heather Ray, Director of Programs at GreenUP

The Peterborough Children’s Water Festival (PCWF) is going virtual with fun, educational activities for children throughout the month of May.  Instead of students and teachers “bringing the blue” to the Riverview Park and Zoo this year, they will be bringing their enthusiasm for learning to the screen as the PCWF flows into classrooms and homes.

Each Wednesday in May mark your calendars as #WaterWednesdays! One of many opportunities to splash with water on Wednesdays, the PCWF will welcome a new water related theme each week with guest stars from the community, videos, and all the hands-on fun that the PCWF is known and loved for.

Participants will learn about cultural perspectives on water, water conservation, protection of water, and water science and technology. The PCWF is a powerful and fun opportunity to learn about the many ways that we interact with and impact water each day.

A highlight of the first-ever online PCWF will be virtual field trips across the Otonabee Watershed, including a stop at the City of Peterborough Wastewater Treatment Plant. Thousands of students will be joining Kent Keeling, Chief Environmental Officer with the City of Peterborough, and long-time PCWF Steering Committee member, on a behind the scenes tour to discover what really happens to water after we flush our toilets!

Normally held at Peterborough’s Riverview Park and Zoo, the Peterborough Children’s Water Festival is going virtual in 2021 with online fun and educational activities throughout May. Pictured are kids at the 2018 festival participating in an activity called “Rolling in the Shed”, in which they imitate raindrops picking up pollution throughout the watershed. (Photo: GreenUP)

“Quite often, when giving tours of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, I run into people with a flush-it-and-forget-it mentality,” observes Keeling. “If you have never given it any thought, it can be quite surprising how much science and technology goes into the wastewater treatment process in order to protect our local watershed.”

In addition to letting thousands of students explore through virtual field trips, taking the festival online gives us a chance to look at our impacts on water from new perspectives. Since students will join the fun through the use of technology, we will explore the relationship between water and computers, tablets, and phones. For instance, did you know that it can take up to 333 litres (or one full bathtub) of water to make one laptop? There will be lots of learning for us all!

The grand finale of the 2021 Virtual PCWF will move us from education to action.

Over the last three years the PCWF and GreenUP have partnered on the Wonders of Water program, which supported schools and students with deep learning experiences and on the ground actions. We will wrap the festival sharing these experiences, inspiring all participating students and schools to equip themselves with the knowledge needed to improve their impact on water.

Join us! Registration is open and there are a few spaces left for teachers within the City and County of Peterborough.

As part of GreenUP’s Wonders of Water program, these portable H20 to Go kits bring the fun educational activities of the Peterborough Children’s Water Festival to your home, community group, or classroom. Rentals are free until the end of May thanks to funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. (Photo: Leif Einarson)

Still want to participate even if you are not in grades 2-5? We want you to inspire us and others by following #WaterWednesday and @ptbogreenup on social media and sharing your water wisdom. Here are a few ways to bring some PCWF activities and #WaterWednesday into your home this May:

  1. Be a Water Watcher, not a Water Waster. Become an H20 Holmes detective and explore your home to make note of where water enters and exists your home (taps, drains, etc). Check each tap closely to ensure that you spot zero leaks!
  2. Race against the Clock. Start a friendly competition in your house and see who can be the cleanest, yet have the shortest showers. Use a handy kitchen timer (or timer on your phone) to track how long you are in the shower. Live alone? Each time you shower try to decrease your time by one minute!
  3. Show your Gratitude for Water. When you first use water in the morning (brushing your teeth, filling the kettle) say thank you to water four times. Then, cut out a paper water droplet shape and colour or paint a message of gratitude to water.

Elder Dorothy Taylor of the Curve Lake First Nation explains the significance of the materials she uses to perform an Anishinaabe Water Ceremony as students from St. Anne’s Catholic Elementary School listen. This was part of a 2020 (pre-COVID) watershed tour with GreenUP’s Wonders of Water program. (Photo: Leif Einarson)

The Peterborough Children’s Water Festival (PCWF) is a community event for children in Grades 2 to 5. The PCWF provides students with the opportunity to discover the importance and diversity of water. The PCWF works in partnership with educators, water quality and quantity specialists, community volunteers, conservation groups, industry and government to create a festival full of activities that are educational and fun. To register, financially support, or find out more information please visit pcwf.net or email info@pcwf.net.

Posted in Uncategorized, water

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