Municipal services co-ordinator with the city, Cindy Walters (left), city gardener Tracy DeRose (right) and the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society’s Oliver Berger teach Brooke Williston, 6, and Cruz Williston, 4, a bit about gardening. Greg Sabatino photo

COLUMNS: Education provides essential foundation to build on

The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society was delighted to attend the first ‘Public Works Day.’

On May 26, the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society was delighted to attend the first ‘Public Works Day’ hosted by the City of Williams Lake.

It was a fun and engaging opportunity for the citizens of Williams Lake to see all the work that goes on behind the scenes to keep this city running; such as making sure we have healthy, safe water to drink, removing our waste water then cleaning and returning it to rivers, dealing with our garbage and recycling, keeping our streets cleared of snow all winter, as well as the numerous other services provided to ensure the community is healthy, safe and sustainable.

The mandate of the Conservation Society is primarily education, and our two main programs — Water Wise and Waste Wise — focus on school children. Much of this is in the classroom, but we also offer field trips which supplement and enrich what we can offer in class.

So much of Water Wise and Waste Wise is intertwined with ‘Public Works.’ Water Wise started because of concerns about the long-term viability of the aquifer, so we take students to meet the City staff and see the pump stations where water is pumped out of the aquifer.

Then they can connect the classroom sessions and learn conservation tips with ‘real life’ and the ‘real people’ actually dealing with the issues.

We then go and see the other end of things at the sewage lagoons, and they actually see the town’s sewage gushing out of a pipe with all the garbage mixed in that should not be there.

Standing there and having the City staff explain what should not go down drains, seems far more likely to have some effect than anything taught in a classroom.

With Waste Wise, following the same principles, classes get taken to the dump.

Kids meet the people involved with waste management, see the scale of what needs to be processed and now have an image in their heads of what happens to their garbage; it is no longer something that just magically ‘disappears’ once they throw it in a black bin or blue box.

So I’m not pretending that seeing sewage and garbage is necessarily ‘fun’ and I’m absolutely sure that kids have a long list of field trips that would be preferable, however, a key to keeping a society healthy and functional is access to clean and safe water, and removal of waste products of all kinds.

Maybe, many years down the road, they will remember these tours when they start paying their own taxes and understand why these things cost money and water isn’t ‘free.’

Public Works Day gives everyone a similar opportunity to appreciate the behind-the-scenes effort, skill, time and expense to keep a city functioning smoothly and providing the essential foundation for a healthy population.

Conservation Tip of the Month: Keep our storm drains clean by not dumping garbage, toxic liquids or anything you wouldn’t want to swim in. Only rain should go down the drain!

Jenny Howell is the executive director with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RANCH MUSINGS: Thank goodness the land line phone still works

We, the minority in the “developed world,” sometimes resort to older ways of communicating

PHOTOS: Bantam Timberwolves skate to silver medal at home tournament

The T-wolves fell 6-3 to Kamloops in the championship

The importance of literacy in finding employment

Everyone, whether they are employed or unemployed, needs solid literacy skills to be successful

Skaters twirl to top results at Cariboo North Central Regionals

“We came home with four regional championship awards.”

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read