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250 “water-passionate” Canadians attending once-in-a-lifetime water learning opportunity

Tuesday, October 19th 2010 10:36:02am

Media Release
Bus departing from Winnipeg on Wednesday, October 20 and arriving at event in Alberta the following day

(Exshaw, Alberta, October 19, 2010) On Thursday, engaged young leaders from all over the country will converge in Alberta for a once-in-a-lifetime learning event that will turn their good intentions into concrete actions to protect our most precious natural resource: water.

These leaders will be attending the Canadian Water Innovation Lab (CWIL), held from October 21 to 24, 2010 amongst the breathtaking natural beauty of the Rockies at Camp Chief Hector, in Exshaw, near Calgary. Twenty-four young leaders are attending from Manitoba and Saskatchewan alone, and will be bussed from Winnipeg to Exshaw starting tomorrow.

This unprecedented gathering has been dubbed the “unconference for uncommon young leaders.” It is designed to give 200 of Canada’s most water-passionate and proactive 18- to 35-year-olds the skills, insights, and connections to champion water management issues. Fifty facilitators were trained starting Monday at the Pre-Lab at the Banff Centre. Official CWIL activities start tomorrow.

CWIL’s mission is to develop leadership capacity, spur community water-related projects, and place water resource management issues prominently on the public agenda.

Hosted by Waterlution – A Water Learning Experience, CWIL is a natural extension of Waterlution’s mission. Waterlution has already hosted more than 35 workshops in nine provinces for over 750 youth and 100 policy-makers, scientists, business, Aboriginal, and community leaders — exceptional people looking for creative solutions to our complex water resource management problems. Water holds a central place in the Canadian imagination. Waterlution builds on that emotional connection to get water issues onto centre stage.

“Water is absolutely the number one issue we’ll be facing this century,” says Karen Kun, Waterlution’s co-founder and Director. “In Canada, it’s something we take for granted. We don’t understand how closely it touches on every aspect of our lives. Waterlution’s goal is to help people understand that and learn the skills to create concrete positive changes in their hometowns.”

Rather than a typical “talking heads” event, participants will learn experientially through field trips and one-to-one interactions with mentors such as water resource practitioners, policy makers, activists, educators, and Aboriginal and community leaders. These mentors include such water luminaries as R.W. (Bob) Sandford, the EPCOR Chair of the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of United Nations “Water for Life” Decade; Alex Salki, a research biologist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; Tony Maas, WWF-Canada's national advisor on freshwater policy and planning; Professor Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, joint faculty member in Social Work and Aboriginal Studies at the University of Toronto; and David Henderson, Managing Director of XPV Capital Corporation and a member of the 2009 Top 40 under 40.

Topics to be covered include water as it relates to climate change, agriculture, municipalities and infrastructure, mountain and coastal ecosystems, and energy.

“New and long-term pressures threaten our water resources but our current policy and management approaches are woefully outdated,” says Kun. “There is a need for a safe space — spanning generations, sectors, and cultures — in which solutions can be developed collaboratively. That is what CWIL is all about.”

When:
October 21 to 24, 2010
For event schedule, go to http://www.waterlution.org. Media is invited for opening night, field tours on October 22, and the closing presentations.

Where:
Camp Chief Hector
Exshaw, Alberta
For directions, see: http://www.ymcacalgary.org/web/Default.aspx?cid=3482〈=1

Bus schedule:

A bus, carrying 24 young leaders attending the unconference from Manitoba and Saskatchewan will depart at the following times and locations:

Winnipeg, MB - October 20 @ 4:30 pm (Manitoba Time) - pick up at the Polo Park parking lot, in the corner area of Portage Ave and St. James St. (same lot where Joeys is).

Brandon, MB - October 20 @ 7:00 pm - pick up at the Tim Hortons on the #1 Highway.

Regina, SK - October 21 @ 12:30 am (Saskatchewan/Alberta time) - pick up at the Tim Hortons on the #1 Highway, Corner of Victoria Ave E and Prince of Whales Drive, 1839 Prince of Whales Drive.

Moose Jaw, SK - October 21 @ 2:00 am - pick up at the Petro Canada off the #1 Highway on the North Service Road East.

Swift Current, SK - October 21 @ 5:00 am - pick up location at the Tim Hortons on the North Service Road East, near 6th ave NE off the #1 Highway.

Medicine Hat, AB - October 21 @ 9:00 am - pick up at the McDonalds on Red Cliff Drive SW. Turn left off the #1 Highway onto 7th St SW. Turn an immediate left onto Red Cliff Drive SW.

Arrival @ YMCA Camp Chief Hector, Alberta for 1:00 pm, October 21, 2010.

Photos and updates
Media photos will be taken the weekend of October 23/24 and uploaded to http://waterlution.org.

To get instant, daily updates from the Lab, follow @TheLab2010 on Twitter

Click here to see which cities the unconference attendees are from.

For more information, to follow the bus, interview participants and/or the organizers, and attend as media, contact:

Karen Kun, co-founder and Director, Waterlution – A Water Learning Experience
karen@waterlution.org
416-887-4709

Renae Bennett, Prairie Bus Coordinator, Waterlution – A Water Learning Experience
renae@waterlution.org
204-297-0202

About Waterlution – A Water Learning Experience

Founded in 2003 by social entrepreneurs Karen Kun and Tatiana Glad, Waterlution is a water learning organization that brings together young leaders interested or working on water-related topics – for peer-to-peer and inter-generational programs. Workshops and activities often take place over a weekend or are customized to work with partners and groups at selected events.

To date, Waterlution has already hosted more than 35 workshops in nine provinces for some 750 youth and 100 scientists, business, Aboriginal, and community leaders, and policy makers — exceptional people looking for creative solutions to our complex water resource management problems.