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2019 ESAA Community Involvement Award: The Details

Waterline was recently awarded the 2019 ESAA community service award for our work with Queen Elizabeth High School and Waterline would like to share more information about the project with the broader community to promote similar initiatives.

Waterline provided technical and logistical expertise to enhance the learning experience of Grade 9 math and science students at Queen Elizabeth High School in Calgary, Alberta. Together with teaching staff of Queen Elizabeth High School and an educational think-tank associated with the University of Calgary, the Galileo Educational network, volunteers from Waterline Resources Inc. supported an authentic and meaningful learning experience within the Grade 9 Environmental Chemistry Unit, which was used to test and teach best teaching practices to educators across the Calgary Board of Education and educational students at the University of Calgary. Using the Canada Creosote site and associated monitoring data as a case study, students were engaged in an authentic, true-to-life inquiry project that drew upon their skills and learning within the Environmental Chemistry unit, as well as the expertise and analytical services provided by the volunteers.

The Canada Creosote site is located in the West Village of Calgary, almost directly across the Bow River from the residential community of West Hillhurst, one of the communities that Queen Elizabeth High School serves. The identified creosote impacts at the site has been monitored by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) for a number of years and has recently received media attention as it was a proposed site for a replacement stadium (Calgary Next) for the Calgary Flames and Stampeders. Using publicly available information, data, and reports, a multi-staged inquiry-based project was designed to help contextualize a local environmental issue and allow students to perform authentic research and analysis to gain a deepened understanding of the local site within the field of environmental sciences.

Waterline collaboratively planned the unit with teachers by: providing publicly available scientific reports and resources; providing teacher's with easy-to-understand summaries of technical information; focusing teachers on the most important information in scientific reports; and helping teachers understand the practical implementation of environmental investigations.

In the first year of the program, Waterline designed a bench-scale experiment to mimic how hydrocarbons (molasses and vegetable oil) move through the subsurface in different soil types (clay, sand) to demonstrate the mobility of creosote in the subsurface.

An additional activity was designed with teachers during the first year of the program where students wrote letters to affected stakeholders based on their understanding of the contextualized scientific data. This activity allowed students to synthesize scientific data and take the perspective of the letter writer (i.e., the environmental consultant).

In the second year of the program, Waterline collaboratively designed an open-house project with teachers, where students will present stakeholder’s perspectives and then collectively attempt to resolve ownership and responsibility of the impacts and a go-forward plan.

During both years of the program, Waterline supported the school with planning and implementing a field program to collect samples from the Bow River.

Waterline would also like to recognize our collaborators on the project, including AGAT during both years, Intrinsik for completing a presentation about how to write a letter to stakeholders during the first year, and North Shore for providing volunteers during the field trip for the first year of the program.

We look forward to continuing this project in the future and working with the students at Queen Elizabeth High School in 2020!

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