Hey Teachers!

are you looking for a FREE cross-curricular, multidisciplinary, project based learning opportunity for your students?

Are you a grade 11/12 arts or science teacher?

Interested in your students winning a $2,000 project grant?

November 2021
For grade 11/12 art class and science class students from across Canada

From Nov 17th to Dec 10th, art class students will collaborate with science class students through asynchronous workshops researching the challenge question. Students will then design an arts-based presentations of their research and proposal with the opportunity to win $2,000.

Resource guests, western science specialists and Indigenous knowledge keepers, will present the challenge through short workshops.

Win a $2,000 grant

Co-Lab student teams will be mentored through the process of developing innovative solutions towards the research questions, with the opportunity of winning a $2,000 grant towards implementation of their solution. Teams will create and virtually submit their cross-disciplinary, arts-based proposals for review and feedback from the resource guests.

free lesson plans with corresponding rubrics

Teachers will be provided with free lesson plans with corresponding rubrics. This real world experience is offered as a flexible learning program. Waterlution staff are trained facilitators successful at creating engaging, safe and inclusive environments. We understand that remote teaching was exceptionally challenging last year, and we look forward to collaborating with you in the new school year ahead.

Welcome to the Co-Lab Challenge Research Question!

Below you will find an informative blurb about the topic of source water protection and 3 questions to answer. Questions 1 and 2 are building blocks for question 3, but all questions will need to be researched and fully answered in your final projects. However, for your final art piece the most emphasis should be on question 3.

One approach to protecting the health of a watershed, which is often ignored but is vital to the health of the ecosystem, is to focus on the performance of wastewater treatment plants that discharge their effluence into the rivers within a watershed. Responding to this:

  1. How would you define your relationship with water?

  2. When it comes to protecting our water resources (both in quantity and quality), should economics outweigh environmental benefit? Why or why not?

  3. How do we convince water managers, city and town councillors, and the public, that the management of our fresh water and wastewater shouldn’t be based primarily on financial costs? Environmental costs, both short and long term, need to be equally considered and that all water bodies should have the same legal rights as a person.


the National Co-Lab Challenge Nov 17 - Dec 10, 2021

week 1

2 one hour sessions.
Offered with live intro or all asynchronous.

Session 1

Introducing the challenges (live or recorded) (20min)

Resource Guest 1
Western Science approach challenge (20min)

Resource Guest 2
Western Science approach challenge (20min)

Session 2

Resource Guest 3
Indigenous knowledge approach to challenge (30min)

Resource Guest 4
Indigenous knowledge approach to challenge (30min)


Student teams begin completing additional research, formulating a summary plan, and developing follow up questions to present (submitted virtually) to the resource guests.

week 2

2 one hour sessions.
Offered asynchronously.

Session 1

Arts-Based Community Development (ABCD)

This includes discussion on how student teams can present their pitches utilizing various arts mediums and processes. It is expected that all pitches utilize arts-based mediums and processes.


Student teams:

  1. begin developing an ABCD project pitch plan;
  2. complete supplied production document for review, and;
  3. submit all final questions for RG by the end of this week.

Session 2

Resource Guests and Waterlution staff respond to selected student team questions. All student team questions will be responded to through email, however, not all questions will be answered during the 1 hour session due to anticipated volume.

week 3

Student teams submit their final pitch projects for review by the Resource Guests and Waterlution staff. The winner will be announced live on Dec 16.


Project pitches will be evaluated based on:

20 points –  Focus on solutions towards the research question.

20 points –  Arts-based community development format & presentation.

20 points –  Cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral solutions.

20 points –  Feasibility and likelihood of successful achievement.

20 points –  Community involvement/engagement.

100 points total.

Announcing the National Co-Lab Challenge

Resource Guests

Alex Jacobs-Blum

Alex Jacobs-Blum

Click to read full bio

Indigenous Curatorial Resident at Hamilton Artist Inc

Ellie Joseph

Ellie Joseph

Click to read full bio

Philip Wilson

Manager. Water & Wastewater Engineering Haldimand County

Stephanie Nolet

Water & Wastewater Optimization Haldimand County

Mark Anderson

Water Quality Engineer. Grand River Conservation Authority

Makasa Looking Horse

Sundance Leader, Water Activist, Traditional Medicine Practitioner

Makasa Looking Horse

Click to read full bio

Have a Question?


Laina, School Program Coordinator 

Christopher, Artistic Director



About WIL

Water Innovation Labs (WIL) are designed to train young leaders to think holistically and to co- design innovative integrated solutions to pressing water challenges (from local, regional and global solutions).


As a pilot project, the Youth Water Innovation Lab (YWIL) Grand River, is a targeted adaption of the WIL program, specifically for Secondary School students. This YWIL design has emerged from Waterlution’s analysis that Secondary School students are seeking capacity building opportunities, not previously available to this extent, within existing in-school programming offered by Waterlution.

OUR Water needs Youth Engagement

Part 1: May 31 to June 4, 2021

Youth from Dunnville Secondary School (DSS) will participate in virtual field tours, training, and working sessions developing out their vision/pathways to improved community engagement, mentorship, and the development of team co-innovation projects (applicable to their home communities).

Led by Waterlution staff and a series of invited resource guest’s student teams will receive training to develop and present their innovation ideas with an opportunity to earn seed grants to test, prototype and/or pilot their ideas at a local scale.

To secure future watershed health and resiliency, Waterlution and our partners invest in the development and skill building of youth about the inter-linkages of water to their community and offer multiple ways for youth to work together on arts, science and Indigenous approaches to caring for and innovating around water. The Youth Water Innovation Lab is a platform for experts, knowledge holders and youth and young leaders to share timely, relevant ideas and insights across sectors.

Part 2: November 2021

And we are excited to be offering part two as a national youth event coming in November.

Are you interested in having your grade 11/12 class participate?

From science to art classes, we are accepting classes from across Canada to join in this virtual pilot program.  Email chris.mcleod@waterlution.org to receive additional information on how to participate in this free program.