Greatness: The Great Lakes Student Rally

A wonderful Great Lakes Student Rally will take place on May 25, 2017.  The rally will be part of Greatness: An Ontario 150 Celebration of the Great Lakes.  Hundreds of Grade 7 and 8 students from around Ontario will join fellow students who have been intensely engaged in the Water Docs @ School program (WD@S) in their classrooms.

WD@S unfolds in each classroom from September to May beginning with an in-depth study of the Great Lakes and the class’s home watershed followed by a hands-on water-protection project. Projects have focused on conservation such as “The 21 Day Challenge” by an inner-city Toronto class, on preventing pollution such as the suburban GTA project called “Kids Against Road Salt”, or on mitigation of violent weather events such as “Porous Pavements” by a class in a large regional city.

In tandem with their action projects, classes create a documentary (and social media campaign) for the issue they are addressing. Finally each year, all participating classes gather for an inspiring Student Recognition Day where their films are shown and celebrated with prizes for the best action projects and the best films. WD@S is a partnership project between Ecologos Water Docs and Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF). It has so far engaged 100 classes over four school years and inspired 2200 young people to see themselves as knowledgeable Water Keepers for Life. The project is lauded by teachers and parents for instilling a deep caring for the environment, and for developing skills of leadership, team and coalition building, project planning and management, filmmaking and storytelling.

The Great Lakes Student Rally will draw hundreds of students into a powerful awareness of the Great Lakes and their integral importance to Ontario and our way of life. It will also create momentum for a huge jump in WD@S registrations during Ontario 150 – jumping up to 150 classes in the single school year 2017/2018. A special initiative will expand the program to French-speaking and indigenous classes. The Rally will feature:

  • Opening with an indigenous water ceremony to bless the Great Lakes.
  • An interactive presentation on ‘The State of the Great Lakes’.
  • A celebration of the Great Lakes in song, dance and spoken word presented by a team of indigenous and non-indigenous students.
  • Screening of the winning WD@S films from the school year just concluding, and presentation of prizes.
  • Inspiring calls to action by TVO’s The Water Brothers and the amazing teenage Water Warrior, Robyn Hamlyn