Saturday, May 22, 2010

Freshwater Youth Summit

As many of you may know, the 2010 Freshwater Summit is quickly approaching – it’s actually happening a little more than a week from now!

Who would have known a year ago that I would be involved in some of this!

Since November 2009, I have been attending meetings and helping a committee with the Youth Summit that will be occurring alongside the Freshwater Summit.

What exactly does this mean? Students will have the opportunity to consider their values and make their opinions known. Grade 11 and 12 students from the Muskoka area will be coming together to listen to important issues related to water, and will then be using this information to come to consensus and write a communiqué to represent their ideas and opinions. The main question they will be discussing is:

How do we ensure there’s enough freshwater to sustainably support industry, agriculture and human consumption while maintaining healthy ecosystems?

The students who will be participating have been given a specific water topic. The students will become specialists in this area and will be using their new knowledge to help them come to conclusions about these important issues. This information will also help them to understand the information that the speakers will be presenting at the Freshwater Summit.

How am I involved? As a student of the Science Communication Program, my classmate (James) and I assisted in helping write documents about how to come to consensus and how to write a communiqué. These two documents were included in a student workbook that students were given to help prepare for the Youth Summit.

Not only did I help author these two short documents, I also had the opportunity to deliver a workshop to about 25 students who attended a preparation and introductory day on May 8, 2010. We had a discussion about how to come to consensus when there are individuals on both sides of an issue. Then, students were given an issue and asked to list the main issues, come to consensus about the issue, and begin writing a mini communiqué.

Students also attended a workshop about précis writing, got a visit from the Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement, and got to know each other while practicing coming to consensus and writing a communiqué about an issue not related to water – nuclear energy. (I know, not an easy topic to come to consensus about!)

You can learn more about what happened at the May 8th Introductory Day here or by checking out Tony Clement’s website.

The students had a good time and are more prepared for the Freshwater Summit that will be held on June 1st and 2nd. I will be there with my classmate, Merissa, helping the students throughout their discussions. I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes!

For more information about the 2010 Freshwater Summit, check out the website at (There is also a link to the Youth Summit on this page!)