LUKE WILLIAMSON & LARRAINE ROULSTON
Test Kits for Kids
For testing water quality in our pristine lakes, the organization Water Rangers is introducing its ‘test kits’ to children of all ages to prepare for conducting spring water experiments.
Teachers can check out Water Rangers, a Canadian non-profit group that visits schools to provide educators with easy-to-use water testing and data sharing tools in order to help their students protect local rivers, lakes and city harbours.
After the winter ice has melted, Water Rangers begin to visit schools with their easy-to-use water quality test kits and data-sharing tools that help students protect local waterways. During events throughout the warmer seasons, Water Rangers work with youth between the ages of 7-18. Their Freshwater Explorer test kit can be used by groups of 2-5 students, the Compact test kit can be used by 2-4 students, and the Tiny test kit is most suitable for 1-2 students. Their latest kit, the Education test kit, can serve a classroom of up to 20 students.
Kits are already arriving in Peterborough this month: one to Otonabee Conservation, another to the Pathway Project as part of a lending library with many schools and other organizations, including Camp Kawartha, and some students at Trent University using the kits for their Masters research.
The Water Rangers have also done work with Sustainable Cobourg.
The project involves testing the dissolved oxygen, pH, alkalinity and hardness, chlorine, conductivity, temperature, and water flow at the sites in the fall and again in the spring. Water Rangers’ educator and store coordinator, Luke Williamson, engages kids of all ages with hands-on activities to help them understand whether or not water bodies are healthy. Williamson and his team also work to connect students to science. Williamson stated, “Young learners are always curious and willing to try water testing! It’s important for them to see that, even as children, they can get involved in science which can have an impact on their environment.”
After arriving at a testing site, such as a lake or river, conducting water tests using these kits can take as little as twenty minutes. Taking notes on observations and uploading data to app.waterrangers.ca will bring the total time to about one hour. Water Rangers’ test kits can be applied to saltwater and wastewater; however, Water Rangers recommends Tap Score for examining tap and pool water.
To fund the kits, “Water Rangers have twice been the recipient of a grant through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada PromoScience Program. PromoScience supports hands-on, experiential learning for young students and teachers. This funding is used to distribute test kits to schools, school boards, and independent educational organizations across the country for communities with a strong need for the tools to help protect local waterways.
“We pledged to support Indigenous communities with at least 25% of our funds” said Luke Williamson of Water Rangers.
Other funding might be sourced from a local municipality, TD’s Friends of the Environment or a student fundraising campaign within the school community.
As a final note, Williamson added, “If you are interested in getting your hands on one of these test kits, please email Water Rangers at firstname.lastname@example.org. The spring season is the perfect time for your students to dive into conservation!”
Larraine Roulston writes children’s books on composting and pollinating. To view, visit www.castlecompost.com. Luke Williamson is Water Rangers Store Coordinator. He can be reached at email@example.com or Tel 855 484 1584