After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the Halton Children’s Water Festival returned to Kelso Conservation Area this past September and welcomed back about 700 students for an in-person program focused on protecting water in our community. This was the 15th year for the festival which has educated about 50,000 elementary school students with the support of over 6,000 high school students over the years.
This year, the festival offered Grade 5 students curriculum-linked environmental education programming over three days. The students had the opportunity to learn about water and society, water conservation and protection, water health and safety, and water science and technology. Fifteen fun, themed learning activity centres such as Waterfront Quest; Garbage Juice, What’s That?; Let’s Talk Water; the Great pH Challenge; Off I Go; Make it Snow; From the Lake to Your Tap and Back; and Beneficial Bugs allowed for hands-on learning outdoors where students could enjoy the views of Kelso Reservoir on one side and the Niagara Escarpment on the other.
“The water festival gives our students the opportunity to be stewards of the earth by investigating and participating in real-life, hands-on activities that are designed and led with the Ontario Science and Technology expectations,” said Clare Slaven, Grade 5 teacher, St. Timothy’s Catholic Elementary School, Burlington. “It is a wonderful fun-filled day where we can show what we value and celebrate in Halton and the environment.”
“Today, I’ve learned about water and the correct bins the garbage goes in,” said James, a Grade 5 student from St. Anne Elementary School, Burlington. “Right now, we’re playing a game and it’s really fun!”
During COVID, the festival organizers pivoted to offer a virtual Water Festival Program to Grade 2 students. Since launching in April 2022, more than 1,600 students have participated in the online field trips with more signed up to participate this fall.
Festival organizers hope to bring back the full four-day festival in 2023 offering in-person programming to Halton students in Grades 2 to 5 through 60 activity stations.
The Halton Children’s Water Festival is presented by Conservation Halton and Halton Region in partnership with Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board and Conservation Halton Foundation, with the support of the City of Burlington, Town of Halton Hills, Town of Oakville, and Geo Morphix.