NATION VALLEY — Three more schools from across South Nation Conservation’s (SNC) jurisdiction have colourful aquatic murals installed on schoolyard fences to inspire and remind communities to conserve and protect water resources and the local environment.
This June, SNC partnered with Russell Public School, École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Thérèse-d’Avila in Marionville, and Vimy Ridge Public School in the City of Ottawa to administer the Stream of Dreams interactive eco-education program to over 1,100 local elementary students.
Through the program, SNC delivers in-class workshops teaching youth the importance of protecting local waterways and drinking water sources and about the integrated watershed management approach of Conservation Authorities.
To follow classroom learning, students work through a visioning exercise and then paint their own wooden “Dreamfish” to be hung on their school’s outer fence for years to come.
“The program is simple but essential,” explains John Mesman, SNC’s Communications Lead. “Through hands-on learning, we’re teaching today’s generation about the importance of conserving and recycling our water to protect fish habitat and our own drinking water, now and in the future.”
The Stream of Dreams program began in 1998 in British Columbia following a toxic dump of household products down a storm drain that killed over 5,000 fish in Byrne Creek; residents Louise and daughter Chanel created a mural in their community to bring attention to the dumping, and the message now shared by students in the program is: “only rain down the drain!”
Today the program is administered across the country; SNC has been a licensed bilingual administrator for Stream of Dreams in Eastern Ontario since 2016.
The Conservation Authority has delivered the program in eight schools across its 4,384 square-kilometer jurisdiction in Eastern Ontario to date; Stream of Dreams murals can be seen everywhere from Spencerville to Ottawa.
The recently completed mural at Vimy Ridge Public School in Findlay Creek is SNC’s largest; nearly 800 Dreamfish are attached to the school’s outer chain-link fence.
Councillor Carol Anne Meehan, along with City of Ottawa representatives from SNC’s Board of Directors, were on hand to mark the occasion and see the mural for themselves.
“This is our largest and most ambitious mural to date, and we think it’s great for the boys and girls at the school and for the staff,” said Bill Smirle, Chair of SNC’s Board of Directors. “The mural will be here a long time, reminding kids and parents not to take water for granted.”