Ontario Invests $23,500 in Lake Ontario Student Conference in Port Hope

The Ontario government is investing $23,500 in a Great Lakes-themed conference hosted by the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority on Wednesday, October 5, in Port Hope, bringing together high school students from across the region. The conference provided a day of hands-on learning about the health of Lake Ontario and its watersheds to help inspire the environmental leaders of tomorrow.

“By creating more educational opportunities for young Ontarians, we are making it easier to build a sense of connection with the history and culture of our Great Lakes and a greater appreciation of their importance,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South. “We look forward to engaging with Ontario’s youth to hear their perspectives as we protect these important bodies of water for future generations to come.”

The one-day conference brought together about 100 high school students and their teachers from across the region. Hands-on learning stations were set up along the Port Hope section of the Ganaraska River and the Lake Ontario shoreline to help students gain a better understanding of how the health of the Great Lakes, their shorelines and watersheds, is maintained as well as the actions they can take to help protect, conserve and restore them.

Students participated in water quality sampling activities, as well as fish and wildlife identification, plastic and litter clean-up, and learn from experts about wetlands restoration, sport fishing, and the promotion of safe fish consumption limits.

“Protecting our environment begins with educating the leaders of tomorrow — our local students and young people,” said Linda Laliberte, CAO and Secretary-Treasurer of the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority. “We wish to thank Minister Piccini and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks for selecting the GRCA for the funding that made this event possible. This funding has provided the unique opportunity for local students to learn from many experts working to conserve Lake Ontario and its watersheds.”

“Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board is pleased to have students from our Specialist High Skills Major programs at several local high schools including: Port Hope High School, Clarington Central Secondary School and Courtice Secondary School participating in this experiential learning opportunity,” said Diane Lloyd, Chairperson of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. “It is important that our students have opportunities to engage and learn from local community partners in how we value and can take responsibility for protecting our valuable resources.”

“The Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington (PVNC) school board is so grateful that 50 of our Grade 11/12 Specialist High Skills Major students have the opportunity to experience Lake Ontario from an Arts, Hospitality, Indigenous, and Environmental perspective. As always, the Ganaraska Forest Centre team has done an outstanding job preparing our staff and students for this day,” said Alex Duketow, PVNC Student Success Consultant. “Furthermore, it has been wonderful to partner with our friends at Kawartha Pine Ridge on this endeavour. We anticipate many powerful stories that our students will carry with them back to their schools and homes.”

This conference is part of an ongoing partnership between the Ontario government, local conservation authorities and other environmental organizations to develop rich learning experiences for students, working together with local school boards. The model for this conference has been used successfully more than 25 times across the Great Lakes Basin.

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