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Grade 4 and 5 students attend annual Water Festival

Local NewsGrade 4 and 5 students attend annual Water Festival

More than 1,400 Grade 4 and Grade 5 students from the City of Brantford, County of Brant and Six Nations of the Grand River descended upon Mohawk Park for the annual Brantford-Brant Children’s Water Festival, which ran from Tuesday, May 14 through Thursday, May 16, 2024.

“The Brantford-Brant Children’s Water Festival is a three-day event with about 450 students each day,” said Sue Brocklebank, festival coordinator. “The reason why we actually target the event towards Grade 4s is because it matches really well with the grade’s curriculum, and so the idea is to get outside, have something interactive and really reinforce the learning they’re doing in the classroom. This year, we have 35 different interactive stations set up around the park that focus on five themes: water science, water protection, water conservation, water technology and water attitudes.”

Two students from Grandview Public School learn about Victorian era laundry techniques with the help of volunteers from the Bell Homestead during the Brantford-Brant Children’s Water Festival on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

She said that with 32 schools in attendance over the course of the three days, the event is designed to help the youngsters initiate environmental change within their homes, schools, and communities.

“This is an important opportunity because I think our world is changing and we all need to learn more messages about water, where it comes from and how its processed,” she said. “But I think our youngest community members, who are just so engaged with this kind of material, can really help to soak in that information, and communicate it with their parents or their communities, who for them, might not be a priority, or they might have forgotten it from school themselves.”

Avery Mercy, a Burford District Elementary School student, tries her hand at Water Plinko trivia during the Brantford-Brant Children’s Water Festival on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

Throughout the three-day event, high school students from three local schools ran a majority of the festival’s stations, giving them leadership opportunities and presentation experience. From a storm escape room to water trivia plinko, a sand topographic map and more, there were plenty of opportunities to learn more about the importance of water for both the elementary and secondary students.

Grandview Public School students learn about the City of Brantford’s new green bin program during the Brantford-Brant Children’s Water Festival on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

With various partners involved such as the Ontario Clean Water Agency, Brant Waterways Foundation, the Grand River Conservation Authority, Grand River Conservation Foundation and the Children’s Water Education Council, Brocklebank said that the festival couldn’t happen with them.

“We have so many partner agencies that have these kinds of messages and they want to be able to reach students and promote the knowledge, so this festival is very much a partnership,” she said. “The City of Brantford contributes so much in kind, especially with the park and the staff. The County of Brant also contributes with their summer students and some of their staff as well as the health unit. We also get funding from the Brant Community Foundation and the Brant Waterways Foundation, and we also get support from the Grand Erie District School Board and the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board to promote this festival and encourage participation. We really couldn’t run it without forming these partnership’s and making it happen.”

Students from Grandview Public School learn about detecting lead in water sources during the Brantford-Brant Children’s Water Festival on Thursday, May 16, 2024.
University students, Charlotte Reisiger and Grace Robillard, show off the sand topographic map station during the Brantford-Brant Children’s Water Festival on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

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