How healthy are the rivers in the Okanagan Basin? What causes a river to be healthy or unhealthy? And what can communities do to make sure their local rivers are in good shape?
These are the types of questions that will be answered by students at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre starting this September.
Stream Science is a new program that aims to teach high school students about the natural water systems in their area, with a focus on the Okanagan Basin’s local streams and its greater watershed.
Lessons in the program aren’t all hypothetical; students will conduct real field work, collect data and monitor watershed conditions as they interact with a local stream.
Student participants will use scientific protocols to collect water bugs and other river organisms, conduct water quality tests and analyze their results. Staff from the nature centre will be on hand to discuss the importance of these tests, and walk through possible explanations of the results.
Stream Science comes courtesy of an $8,000 Water Conservation and Quality Improvement grant awarded to the nature centre by the Okanagan Basin Water Board, as part of its WaterWise program.
“Through this grant program the Water Board provides funds to local governments, irrigation districts, and non-profit organizations for projects that conserve and protect water, based on the recognition that we are all part of ‘one valley, one water,’” Allan Brooks centre education program co-ordinator Chantelle Adams said.