About Us

Launched as part of the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority’s (CLOCA) 40th anniversary theme of “Water Quality” in 1998, the goal of the Festival is to increase the awareness of grade four students concerning water issues and motivate them to become water stewards in their home, classroom and community.

The Festival will be held at Camp Samac in Oshawa from Monday, September 26th to Friday, September 30th, 2016, and consists of 35 hands-on, interactive activities with messages relevant to the student’s daily lives. Through the activity centres, students will discover the importance of water in their lives and how their actions affect the watershed in which they live. The objective is for students to enjoy themselves while learning about important water issues. In 2014, over 4,200 students visited the Festival.

To organize this event, a Durham Children’s Groundwater Festival Organizing Committee was established in 1998 consisting of community partners and to date over 68,000 grade four students and 7,200 high school volunteers have participated in the event. All activities are designed to complement the Ontario curriculum expectations. In 2010 we became a litterless festival with a boomerang lunch, not only was this an overwhelming success it has set a precedent.

Our Philosophy

The Durham Children’s Groundwater Festival promotes the awareness that water is the basis for all life and how water plays an essential role in the social and economic development of Ontario. Communities, like ours, depend on water resources to support the growth of commerce, industry and transportation. The Festival motivates students to become water stewards in their classroom and community. By combining hands-on, interactive activities with messages relevant to their daily lives, students soak-up knowledge on the properties, uses, connections and importance of water and habitat.  With this information, students become aware of the value of conserving and protecting water. Interaction with industry professionals, water experts and enthusiastic educators highlight the environmental education programming of the Festival.

How We Do It

In order to carry these messages successfully to the students, a Groundwater Festival Organizing Committee has been established with the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) being the lead organization. Currently the committee consists of representatives from the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Fund, Durham Catholic District School Board, Durham District School Board, Friends of Second Marsh, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, Ontario Power Generation - Darlington Nuclear, Region of Durham – Health Department, Region of Durham – Works Department and Scouts Canada – Camp Samac. 

Festival Structure

Over five days, approximately 4,500 grade four students are expected to visit the festival. Students will be separated into groups of no more than 8 decided beforehand by teachers. Teachers may plan ahead by selecting activities and exhibits that best suit their students’ needs. To assist in this process, teachers will be provided with a Teacher’s Event Guide that contains a location map, as well as a description of the activities prior to the festival date. A teacher’s workshop is conducted before the festival to answer any questions.

Curriculum Expectations

The Festival consists of over 30 hands-on, learning centres that provide the students with an increased awareness about the importance of water conservation, protection, technology and ecology. These centres have been designed to complement the Ontario Elementary curriculum expectations & achievement levels. One of the learning goals is that students have the knowledge to say “I can use water wisely”

By the end of Grade 4, students will:

~ demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of habitat and community, and identify the factors that could affect habitats and communities of plants and animals - Life Systems (Science & Technology)

~ describe ways in which humans can change habitats and the effects of these changes on the plants and animals within the habitats - Life Systems (Science & Technology)

~ investigate the dependency of plants and animals on their habitat and the interrelationships of the plants and animals living in a specific habitat - Life Systems (Science & Technology)

~ demonstrate an understanding of the physical properties of rocks and minerals and the effects of erosion on the landscape - Earth and Space Systems (Science & Technology)

~ investigate, test and compare the physical properties of rocks and minerals and investigate the factors that cause erosion of the landscape - Earth and Space Systems (Science & Technology)

~ describe the effects of human activity (e.g., land development, building of dams, mine development, erosion-preventing measures) on physical features of the landscape, and examine the use of rocks and minerals in making consumer products - Earth and Space Systems (Science & Technology)