TOLEDO, Ohio (WNWO) — Dozens of kids spent the day on the water in a floating classroom to learn about protecting the natural resource right in their backyard.
The program is a different approach that takes the classroom to the canoe to teach younger generations about water quality, natural history and the effects of pollution.
“I think its important because we need to save our earth and we need to stop pollution because eventually there probably wont be a lot of time to do much about it,” said Dakota Strong, St. Ursula Academy seventh grader.
The Wilderness Inquiry Canoemobile program travels across the country connecting locals to their water resources and park systems.
“We strive to serve people who don’t have access to those outdoor spaces in other ways, maybe it’s prohibitive because gear is expense, maybe its prohibitive because there’s not a family history of getting out into the water,” said Crash Margulies, Wilderness Inquiry outdoor leader.
The Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) brought the program to Toledo, with the help of funding through the the U.S. EPA Urban Waters Program.
“We’re hoping to create the next generation of environmental stewards; we want these kids to grow up knowing that they can make a difference,” said Sara Guher, TMACOG water quality planner.
Canoemobile focuses on underserved communities in urban school districts, to help kids build a relationship with the waterways while educating them at the same time.
“That was actually pretty fun, it wasn’t bad, I felt like we were going to tip but we didn’t,” said Angel Perrin, Spring Elementary School seventh grader.
To help the kids learn the best way they know how to — with a little bit of fun.
“It was pretty fun because it was kind of cold but kind of warm and it was pretty fun to go canoeing in it,” said Michael Carr, Grove Patterson Academy fifth grader.
There will be a Canoemobile Watershed Festival on Saturday June 29th from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the Broadway Street Boat Launch. The family friendly event will feature free canoe rides with expert paddlers, food trucks and activity/educational stations from community partners.
Visit TMACOG’s website for more information about the event.