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 22nd to Friday, September 26th, 2014, 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 4,500 students are expected to visit 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 60,000 grade four students and 6,900 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 ten 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.