My River My Home: Both Art and Science
Friday, 19 December 2014
The University of the Fraser Valley has been researching the water chemistry of the Fraser River since 2009 as a member of the Global Rivers Observatory coordinated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Woods Hole Research Center. The Global Rivers Observatory is advancing our understanding of how climate change, deforestation, and other disturbances are impacting river chemistry and land-ocean linkages. This knowledge is vital for tracking the health of Earth’s watersheds and predicting how Earth’s water and chemical cycles will change in the future. The Global Rivers Observatory also promotes the communication of science to the general public. In September 2013, the My River My Home art and science exhibit opened at the Fraser River Discovery Centre, New Westminster, BC. The exhibit is a global exchange of artwork created by children living along the rivers being studied by the Global Rivers Observatory scientists. The exhibit is intended to inspire young students to develop an awareness of the environment and the importance of rivers. Scientists from UFV, WHOI, and WHRC worked together with the Fraser River Discovery Centre on the science communication aspects of the display and to develop hands-on science activities looking at different aspects of river water quality. The exhibition has led to the creation of My River My Home, An Activity Kit for Educators about the sustainability of the Fraser River. The kit is being offered through the Fraser River Discovery Centre and deals with issues such as the importance of water, water quality, and encouraging a global perspective. The resource kit was classroom tested by several teachers, and four UBC teacher candidates worked on incorporating teacher suggestions into the kit. The resource kit will be available on-line at the end of September 2014 and contains inquiry based activities suitable for a variety of educational levels.