5B goes to Waterscool! #PEI @StratfordWater @StratfordPEI

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Living/2015-05-20/article-4153118/Splash-course-on-P.E.I./1

Stratford Elementary students have fun learning about conservation during Water’s Cool course at Town Hall

Lifting a soup spoon of water into the air, Billy Ramsay asks Stratford Elementary students to imagine that he’s holding the world’s water supply.

And each person is responsible for it.

Then Ramsay passes the spoon around the circle.

Brooke Smith is one of the first to receive it. She takes the spoon in both hands and, with the utmost of care, passes it onto the next student.

As soon as it’s safely secure in Sadie Ghiz’s hands, Brooke gives a sigh of relief.

The tension builds as the 25 students in Meredith Cameron MacIsaac’s Grade 5 class take turns in caring for the world’s water supply.

When the exercise is over, the children watch in anticipation as Ramsay, the water technician for the Town of Stratford, measures the remaining liquid. When he announces that they’ve not spilled a drop, there are sighs of relief and audible joy.

Then, there’s a mini celebration as students get a candy reward for their water-saving efforts.

“You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don’t have it in your heart, it won’t matter,” says Ramsay, whose demonstration was just one of several fun exercises in Water’s Cool, the water conservation class at the Stratford Town Hall earlier this month.

The annual program introduces Grade 5 students from four schools to a variety of topics ranging from watersheds, the water cycle, groundwater, wetlands, forestry, buffer zones and water conservation in a fun, interactive, way.

And every discussion ends with a challenge to the students to make a difference.

Another fun exercise shows how much water is used in daily hygiene.

In this experiment, students Travis McGuirk and Simon Hughes clean their teeth for 20 seconds, using different methods. One brushes as water pours from the tap, full-throttle. The other uses a cup of water to moisten the toothbrush for brushing and another cup his mouth their mouth out.

Later, when Ramsay measures the water used, the students are surprised with the results.

Travis has used two litres of water, while Simon has used just two cups.

When the class is over, students are eager to share their new knowledge.

“I learned that we waste too much water in Stratford,” says Finn Matthews, who is looking forward to trying conservation practices at home.

“Often, my little brother leaves the tap in the dripping after he washes his hands. I’m going to make sure that the tap gets turned off.”

Simon is also eager to apply the things he’s learned.

“I’m going to ask my parents to install a new (low-flow) shower head in the bathroom because it drips too much.”

AT A GLANCE

Fast facts

Kelley Arnold taught the watershed portion of Water’s Cool! She covered topics like the water cycle, groundwater, watersheds, wetlands, wildlife, trees and forestry and buffer zones.

Hundreds of students take the course each year from elementary schools in Stratford, Donagh, Vernon River and Charlottetown.

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