In partnership with YAK Youth Services and Water Rangers, Watersheds Canada recently held a free workshop for youth attending summer programming at YAK Youth Services in Perth, Ontario. This workshop provided students with an introduction to water quality testing and the different scientific tools that are used to assess freshwater health. Using samples from the nearby Tay River, youth used Water Rangers tiny testkits – which included pH strips and a thermometer – to understand what was happening in the Tay River and figure out what natural and human factors alter the make-up of the water. Luke from Water Rangers brought additional scientific tools for the youth to learn about and use, including a conductivity meter, dissolved oxygen kit, and Secchi disc. Youth were able to make various hypotheses about water chemistry and freshwater health and then test those theories using the different scientific tools. They became community scientists for the day!
These workshops are part of a larger project to give Perth youth the confidence and knowledge they need to help protect local nature and make a local, on-the-ground difference. The goals of the educational program are to decrease financial, geographic, experiential, and knowledge-based barriers for youth to participate in citizen science data collection, native species identification and planting, and environmental stewardship on public lands. This project is generously funding by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the Peterborough K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation, and is run in partnership with Water Ranger, YAK Youth Services, Friends of the Tay Watershed, and Watersheds Canada.