Recently, staff and students from Birchmount Park Collegiate Institute headed outdoors for a walk. It was a walk for water to raise awareness about the lack of access to safe, clean water. Students walked in unison with schools in Toronto and across Canada to draw attention for their efforts on both a local and a national scale. Birchmount students connected with Ian Bazalgette School in Calgary, Alberta, I.L. Thomas at Six Nations of the Grand River and Taylor Creek Public School, a local feeder school, to walk in unison.
Every year, the United Nations recognizes World Water Day on March 22nd to focus on the importance of access to fresh water and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. At Birchmount, their World Water Day event focused on raising awareness around Indigenous communities in Canada without access to safe, clean water. In one of the most water rich countries in the world, approximately one out of every five First Nations communities in Canada lacks access to clean, safe and sustainable drinking water.
To mark this important day, an assembly was held at the school where students welcomed speaker Natalie Patrick, Education Program Manager with Water First. Water First is a registered Canadian charity that addresses water challenges in First Nations communities through education, training and meaningful collaboration.
Following the assembly, the grade 9 geography classes took park in a hands-on workshop with Natalie to practice with a working model of a watershed. The workshop also engaged students to think critically about watershed health and decision making surrounding large industrial development for various stakeholders such as the government environmental protection agency and affected First Nations communities.
The follow-up activity for their World Water Day event was a Walk for Water. This was an opportunity to infuse indigenous, environmental and mental health and wellbeing education into practice while working together to get the Birchmount community and other communities in Canada out walking and a voice to make positive change along our collective Path To Reconciliation.