The Water Watchdog program is a fun-filled learning experience for youth ages seven to fourteen. The goal is to increase understanding of water quality on the prairies and to show how individuals can take an active role in protecting this precious resource.
Water Watchdog is an action-awareness program that encourages participants to take action by testing and reporting on the quality of the water in their own "backyard" streams and rivers, lakes and ponds. We anticipate that children will take their Field Guides home to review their findings with their families, to use as a reference manual, and to help them identify and implement stewardship and water conservation activities.
Why is the Water Watchdog Program Important?
More often than not, when you turn on the news, you hear a story about hazardous drinking water, extreme weather conditions or countries selling or redirecting water. Water management is something that an increasing number of people are thinking about. Youth growing up today will inherit all these water problems. It is important to give them skills they can use to solve them.
They need to build connections to real nature as opposed to the virtual nature seen on screens.
They need to open learning spaces within themselves to understand ecological concepts that include them and their community.
They need to learn how to evaluate a situation, draw conclusions, act and then evaluate the action.
These skills provide the hope that the participants will be part of the solution for solving water problems and maintaining a sustainable water supply for all living things.
Using the Water Watchdog Program
The Water Watchdog Program is designed to be flexible and readily adaptable to the time you have available, and the age and ability of the children you are working with. You may have half a day at a lake, or you may want to work through different components of the manual in one or two hour sessions over an extended period of time. This Leader's Guide and the program planner beginning on page 5 will assist you in identifying the parts of the program that will work best in your situation.