From bedtime stories in the loving arms of a parent, old yarns spun around the percussive crackle of a campfire, a spirited catch-up between old friends over coffee, or the thrill of cracking open a new paperback; stories are embedded within our society, culture, and identity. They help us connect, entertain, educate, and influence. Stories lie at the root of Waterlution’s Great Water’s Challenge, which guides young people on a journey to uncover and celebrate water stories in their community to inspire awareness and action to help protect and steward our waters.
This year as a volunteer Youth Advisory Board member with Waterlution, I had the opportunity to share my own water stories in a short book called “The Adventures with Watersnake.” As I brainstormed, wrote, revised, shared, read, revised, and edited, I realized that opportunities for learning and growth nestled within every stage of the story-telling process.
Before I could even put pen to paper, I spent hour brainstorming my own water memories, moments, and connections. I travelled back to the rain-soaked hikes, lazy swims, and adrenaline-packed adventures. In reliving these memories, I remembered my connection to water and reaffirmed my commitment to help protect it. Although I could only share two of these experience in the book, I feel like threads of my cumulative water-memories flow through every word.
Since education is a key tenet of Waterlution and the #GWC, our stories had to entertaining but also informative and accurate. Luckily, stories are a great way to sneak valuable information under the guise of entertainment. My stories were inspired by my personal experiences caving around British Columbia and hiking the West Coast Trail, and I was surprised by how many new facts I uncovered through my supplemental research. It was important lesson about not getting complacent in my knowledge, and a commitment to continual learning. I can’t wait to integrate my new-found knowledge in my upcoming school workshops!
The Adventures with Watersnake is a cumulative effort featuring stories from 8 different YAB members. The time-consuming process of editing everyone’s story, also provided important opportunities to learn and connect. I was transported to waterways all across the province, and slipped into adventures that I could only dream of. It gave me an appreciation for the diversity of water landscapes and water experiences across the province.
I’ve always enjoyed stories, but working on The Adventures of Watersnake opened my eyes to the profound power of a good story. I am so excited to see the finished product and share our water stories!
Help our #YouthAdvisoryBoard raise $5000 to continue connecting passionate youth across Canada through water programming by purchasing our 2019-2020 Great Canoe Journey Calendar & new book, the Adventures with Watersnake! Funds will go to production cost and future programming!
ABOUT KIRSTEN MATHISON
An adventure enthusiast and life-long learner, Kirsten is passionate about exploration and discovery – whether in a cave, on a boat, up a mountain, or behind a computer screen. Exploring and learning more about the natural world led to a recognition of our profound interdependency and connection to the environment, including the omnipresent force and flow of water. She is dedicated to fighting for a sustainable future, and is excited to connect with like-minded youth to uncover innovative solutions that celebrate and reflect indigenous knowledge. Kirsten lives, works, and plays on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ nations, in the city of Victoria, where she earned a BSc in Geography and Anthropology and now works as a Geomatics Analyst, mapping the ocean floor and making navigation charts for submarines.