Today is United Nations’ World Water Day – a day to celebrate the gift of clean water and to raise awareness of the 2.2 billion people who currently live without access to safe water sources.
The theme for the 2021 World Water Day is valuing water. University Math and Sciences faculty member, Katie Burles, understands how important it is to develop an appreciation for a resource that many in developed nations take for granted.
To further this appreciation, Katie is currently developing a new course for the College’s Associate of Science (ASc) degree in Environmental Science program. GEOG 230: Meteorology, Climatology and Hydrology will be a second-year university-level course that will explore the occurrence, distribution, movement and properties of water, and their relationship with the environment within each phase of the hydrologic cycle.
“The study of meteorology and hydrology is key to understanding the complex water systems of the earth and to help solve water problems and challenges globally,” Katie explained.
With hands-on field experiences a key component of the GEOG 230 course – and of the ASc in Environmental Studies as a whole – students will soon have access to new equipment and learning tools. Thanks to generous community contributions to the Dean’s Equipment Fund for Environmental Science, Katie is in the process of acquiring a variety of new instruments, including staff gauges and water-level loggers for remote monitoring and recording of water levels, and a current meter for measuring stream velocity.
“The number of experiential learning opportunities we’re able to provide for our students, particularly in the fall semester, are yet another advantage of taking first- and second-year university courses at a small institution like the College,” Katie said. “Hands-on learning is important when learning new concepts and I think the opportunities our students have to learn by doing helps them to be successful both at the College, and later in further education or in their careers.”
Ryan MacDonald, of MacDonald Hydrology Consultants, was eager to help support Katie’s students.
“We have a passion for environmental science and feel this valuable program is critically important in our community,” he said. “The College is foundational to the future of the region, providing students with an opportunity to gain local perspectives while pursuing higher education.”
Other local environmental consulting firms, including Lotic Environmental, Keefer Ecological Services, VAST Resource Solutions, TerraLogic Exploration Services, and CertainTeed Canada were also quick to get on-board with contributions to the Dean’s Equipment Fund, and many are keen to hire College students for summer positions.
“The hands-on learning our students receive in our program helps them to be more competitive when it comes to these sought-after summer positions,” Katie added.
So today, as we celebrate World Water Day, take a moment to consider what access to clean water means to you.
If you’re inspired to help prepare the environmental scientists of the future, contributions to the Dean’s Equipment Fund for Environmental Science are still being accepted.