EcoSpark’s Changing Currents Program is the perfect experience for students to go green!
This blog was contributed by our Environmental Education Assistant, Heba Salman.
Water quality monitoring through Changing Currents goes beyond being an outdoor experience that helps students explore the overall health of watersheds in their community. It inspires today’s students to become more passionate about their local environment and make environmentally conscious decisions on a daily basis.
Students involved in EcoSpark’s Changing Currents program get the opportunity to learn about how watersheds play a key role in supporting local ecosystems and biodiversity while gaining a better sense of understanding about their surrounding environment. Feedback collected through program evaluation surveys from students who participated in Changing Currents from 2017 to 2019 across the GTA show that 82% of students would take responsible actions to protect the environment for future generations.
Changing Currents student evaluation forms highlight our program’s learning outcomes and students’ perceptions about sustaining healthy freshwater ecosystems. EccoSpark values the student responses collected as they are valuable sources of information for improving the effectiveness of our educational programs through interpreting the feedback of students (Mercer-Golden, 2016). This ensures that our programs are truly a memorable learning experience for students of all ages!
Data collected from surveys indicates that Changing Currents is an impactful program that connects students to the environment and enables them to integrate the information they are presented with into their academic curriculum. Surveys responses indicate that up to 95.5% of students who participated in Changing Currents, increased their knowledge regarding the importance of stream health.
According to a study published in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, students who learn how to incorporate education beyond the classroom into real-life applications become active learners and are able to build a strong awareness of global issues (2018). By working with students to conduct research in their neighborhood environments, EcoSpark is setting up the next generation for success along their academic journey. The program also gives students life skills as they learn and explore citizen science across multiple sampling sites in the GTA.
When young people are outside exploring their local waterways, they realize their actions play an important role in the health of the aquatic life in their local stream and in the quality of their drinking water. More than 80% of students surveyed would potentially become more environmentally conscious as they learned what factors, pollutants and stressors affect the quality of water in different waterways.
Overall, the stream studies completed with EcoSpark provide students with a fresh learning experience to understand how important it is to protect the local environment and water resources towards sustainable lifestyles among youth. Lastly, Changing Currents studies give students the chance to not only investigate their local watersheds like real scientists, but also develop their problem-solving strategies in a wider life context so they can contribute to changing the environment for the better.
This program could not have been possible without the generous support of the Community Foundation of Mississauga.
Interested in participating in Changing Currents? Register on our website and become a part of a province-wide stream and river monitoring intiative. Check out our previous monitioring sites on our Changing Currents Summary Map.
The importance of connecting classrooms to the real world: School subscriptions. (2018). The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://schoolsubscriptions.com.au/the-importance-of-connecting-classrooms-to-the-real-world/
Mercer-Golden, Z. (2016). Student surveys: Why the matter and 5 key design principles of the great surveys. Getting Smart. Retrieved from https://www.gettingsmart.com/2016/01/student-surveys-why-they-matter-and-5-key-design-principles-of-great-surveys/
Heba has a passion for Environmental Education and working with students of all ages while exploring the outdoors and inspiring the students to gain knowledge, empathy, and confidence through the natural world around them. She has completed her Master's degree in Environmental Policy with a background in Microbiology, and volunteered in different environmental organizations. Her children, aged 13 and 8 share her enthusiasm for the environment and science, and she looks forward to sharing this passion with your children, too!