Communication, Engagement and Outreach

Good communication and engagement are necessary for building effective relationships among water partners and the public. Communication and engagement are also important parts of encouraging public involvement in water stewardship and in keeping existing water partners informed and connected to activities related to Northern Voices, Northern Waters: NWT Water Stewardship Strategy (the Water Strategy).

Communication

This NWT Water Stewardship website is an important communication tool to update water partners and the public on our progress towards implementing the Water Strategy. Implementation activities, including project summaries, reports, videos, and workshops are posted on the projects and publications pages as existing projects evolve and new ones are initiated. Water partners are encouraged to use the website to provide updates on their water stewardship implementation activities, and to learn about other initiatives. Specific information and data from monitoring and research projects are communicated through various databases and platforms. These sources of information are summarized in the information management project page.   

The Annual Water Strategy Implementation Workshops are another key part of maintaining effective communications among water partners and the public. The workshops are typically held in the Yellowknife area every fall to encourage water partners to discuss how we can collaborate, prioritize and work together to protect the water in the NWT. Summaries of the workshops held to date can be found on the publications page.

The Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC)  also plays an important role in facilitating communication between their respective Aboriginal governments or organizations and the Water Strategy. As a liaison, the ASC regularly reports on Water Strategy implementation activities to their communities and governments. At the same time, the ASC also communicates water-related priorities and concerns from their respective governments and communities to water partners. ASC updates and discussions typically take place at the Annual Water Strategy Implementation Workshops, and through regular ASC meetings which are held approximately four times per year.

Public Education and Youth Outreach 

 Encouraging young people to be involved in water stewardship activities is an important part of the Water Strategy. Building awareness among youth on water and stewardship creates informed leaders and decision-makers of tomorrow. Although public engagement and youth outreach are often components that are built into broader water stewardship implementation activities, there are also specific education and outreach projects being undertaken. These projects are summarized below. To access the public education resources that have emerged from such projects, click here.

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

McNiven Beach Park Shoreline Cleanup, September 2016 -In recognition of Youth Cleanup Week and the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, GNWT- ENR, in partnership with Ecology North, the City of Yellowknife and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada hosted a shoreline clean up and education event in September 2016. The event was part of a national effort to clean up Canada’s shorelines, while also educating and empowering people to become water stewards. More than 70 youth participated in the event where they cycled through four different education stations and helped to collect and tally more than 2000 pieces of trash (1586 cigarette butts!).

Rivers to Oceans Day

Rivers to Oceans Day – Rivers to Oceans Day is an annual youth water education event held in Yellowknife in collaboration with various water partners, including GNWT-ENR, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Ecology North. The purpose of the event is to engage youth in various water stewardship topics and promote awareness about water resources. Every year approximately 200 students from local Yellowknife schools attend the half day event where they cycle through nearly 15 different water themed stations. The stations are hosted by various water partners and include diverse topics such as water contamination, fish dissections, water quality sampling, water treatment, waterfowl and fish species, and watershed functions. The event is held to coincide with Canadian Rivers day and World Oceans day.

Canada Water Week

Canada Water Week is a national celebration of water that is held annually in March to coincide with World Water Day on March 22. The annual one-week event encourages individuals, organizations and governments across Canada to organize or participate in fun and educational water-related events. Every year GNWT-ENR helps to bring Canada Water Week to the NWT by supporting a wide-range of water stewardship activities and events. Past activities have included:

  • a youth-elder water art contest;
  • different water-themed speaker events;
  • a water-themed photo contest;
  • a water stewardship radio trivia contest;
  • a public evening presentation on NWT groundwater;
  • water-themed movie evenings in various NWT communities;
  • revision and distribution of water curriculum for Grade 6-9 students, focusing on water stewardship and conservation;
  • water-related games and activities at several NWT schools;
  • a water-themed Amazing Family Sunday event at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre;
  • community water treatment plant tours;
  • construction of a 3-D watershed model; and
  • several fish fry events at the Snow King castle on Yellowknife Bay.

 

Stream of Dreams 

"All drains lead to fish habitat": an important reminder to youth and adult alike and is the main message of the Stream of DreamsTM Mural Program. Developed in British Columbia and popular across the country, it is now in the NWT.  The program takes educators into the classroom to teach youth about the importance of watersheds and water, fish and fish habitat. Included is an interactive art component where youth paint their dream fish! It culminates in a river of colourful fish mounted outside the school, as a reminder to everyone to take care of our water!

There are trained staff in the GNWT-ENR that can run the program. Click here to learn more about Stream of Dreams at Ècole J.H. Sissons School in Yellowknife.

 

Aborginal Youth Water Leadership Program 

In 2013/14, the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources hosted an Aboriginal Youth Water Leadership Program. Sixteen youth representing Canada’s four major water-sheds were recruited and selected to take part in this inaugural program:

• Pacific Watershed— Lower Similkameen Indian Band
• Atlantic Watershed—Beausoleil Island First Nation
• Hudson Bay Water Shed—Shoal Lake First Nation
• Arctic Watershed- Fort Smith

An eight month learning odyssey took the youth and their chaperones across the country. The group took part in week-long workshops at each watershed’s representative community. Each workshop was designed to build capacity in Aboriginal youth within water management.

The different youth groups were asked to create a water project in their home community. The youth from Fort Smith collaborated with GNWT-ENR Public Education, Aurora College (Thebacha) and the Stream of Dreams Mural Project and went into the local elementary school to educate over 200 kids about the importance of water!

 

International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 was the International Year of Water Cooperation.  In recognition of this year, staff from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (GNWT) created a public mural in Yellowknife.  On July 9th, Yellowknife residents took a pledge to look after our waters by leaving a handprint and signing a pledge.  There were over 100 participants and included children from the Montessori school and tourists all the way from South Africa. 

 

Do you have an idea or suggestion to help young people or the broad public learn more about water stewardship? Get in touch and let us know at nwtwaterstrategy@gov.nt.ca.

This project addresses a Key to Success under the Work Together component.