Rotary Club of Kitchener


March 3, 2021

Meeting Recording

There is no recording of the March 3rd meeting. Our speaker, Peter Gray is available if you have any questions about today's presentation

President's Comments

It was announced that the State of the Region Address raised $4,000 for KidsAbility and was attended by close to 600 participants.  Thanks to Rotarians Howard Pell, Paul Puopolo, Judy Nairn, Louise Gardiner and a special thanks to our keynote speaker Rotarian Karen Redman!


Heidi Peller, a guest of Louise Gardiner and Mike Morrice.

Catch the Ace

The Jackpot is now over $15,000 and the next weekly draw will be Thursday March 11th. 

Program Highlights

Our meeting today was a joint gathering with the Rotary Club of Kitchener Westmount with a presentation by our own Peter Gray Senior Hydrogeologist and Vice President of MTE Consultants, Inc.  Peter was introduced by a member of the Westmount club:
Mr. Gray graduated with his honours Earth Science (Geology) B.Sc. degree from the University of Waterloo in 1987 and has continued his formal and informal education, including teaching the past five years at Fleming College in the Well-Constructed program and other well / hydrogeology courses.   Mr. Gray has more than 30 years of hydrogeological and environmental consulting experience with projects ranging from small scale local environmental and hydrogeological assessments to large scale international assignments.
Mr. Gray has also contributed greatly to the groundwater community since graduating as a leader of groundwater education and protection, including the Waterloo Wellington Children’s Groundwater Festival, the Children’s Water Education Council, The Rotary Club of Kitchener (Environmental Protection Committee), International Association of Hydrogeologists, national Ground Water Association, The University of Waterloo Advisory Council, UofW Faculty of Environment Dean’s Council, the Grand River Conservation Authority Water Forum Organizing Committee, Waterloo Wellington Secondary School Science Fair, Technical Advisor for various University of Waterloo graduate studies and research projects, director of the University of Waterloo Museum Board of Directors.
Mr. Gray’s project and community service experience is complimented with his corporate and entrepreneurial spirit, having successfully started two environmental companies, including the successful merger of his company Frontline Environmental Management Inc., with the leading KW based engineering firm, MTE Consultants, Inc. in April, 2007, and two environmentally focused non-for-profits including the registered charitable Children’s Water Education Council.
In recognition for his contribution to science and society, some of the awards Mr. Gray has received have included:
Award of Merit | Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario | 2018
15-Year Service Ontario Volunteer Award | For Waterloo-Wellington Science & Engineering Fair | Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Ontario Volunteer Awards | 2018
Latornel Leadership Award | Latornel Conservation Symposium | 2016
June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Volunteerism in Ontario | Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade | 2015
20-Year Service Ontario Volunteer Award | For Waterloo Wellington Children’s Groundwater Festival Chair | Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade, Ontario Volunteer Service Awards | 2015
Volunteer Impact Award, Shining Stars: Planning Action Award | Volunteer Action Centre of Kitchener-Waterloo and Area | 2013
Heritage Community Recognition Award for Lifetime Achievement | Ontario Heritage Trust | 2012
American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG): Division of Environmental Geosciences Public Outreach Award | Houston, TX | 2011
Faculty of Science, Alumni Award of Honour | University of Waterloo 50th Anniversary Awards | 2007
25th Anniversary Provincial Award | For “Just Add Water”, Children’s Water Education Council (CWEC) President | Ontario Trillium Foundation | 2007
Peter’s Presentation focused on Not for Profit – Water Work and ne began by posing several questions:
  • Credibility doing this work for profit?
  • What does the public understand about groundwater, surface water, wells, hydrogeology?
  • What is the media’s role in educating or informing the public about water related matters?
  • Who is the target audience or beneficiary here?
  • How does the Ontario curriculum cover water education?
  • Is any of this my responsibility as a professional?
Some background facts:
  • Nearly 30% of the Canadian population rely on groundwater for domestic use
  • 100% of Prince Edward Island's population and over 60% of the population of New Brunswick rely on groundwater to meet their domestic needs
  • 96% of earths water is in oceans; 4% in groundwater; 2% in glaciers
  • The quantity of groundwater in the earth would cover the entire surface of the globe to a depth of 120 metres
Peter has traveled the wold assisting with solving water related problems and issues and noted the following “local” water concerns:
  • Elmira 1989 – NDMA
  • Walkerton 2000 – E coli outbreak
  • Chlorinated organics in municipal wells
  • Grassy Narrows First Nation “bad” water issues
  • Contaminated water in a new development near Ottawa
Ontario is one of the most regulated provinces in Canada when it comes to water, often with overlapping responsibilities.  All of the following regulate water in some way in Ontario:
  • Ontario Water Resources Act
  • Canadian Environmental Protection Act
  • Clean Water Act
  • Source Water Protection
  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Health Units
  • Conservation Authorities
One of Peter’s strong beliefs is that we need to education people, and especially school children, about water, its proper use and conservation.  In 1992 he took on this challenge and in 1994 the first Children’s Ground Water Festival was held:
  • Turned a challenge into an opportunity – team assembled to host the first Canadian Children’s Groundwater Festival in 1994 in Milton, Ontario
  • 30 - 40 hands on activity centers for grades 2 – 6 students to explore and learn in a fun and interactive way
  • High school students and other volunteers were the instructors
  • 5 days / 1000 kids / day
  • A huge success!
And the program has continued to grow:
  • In 1996, the Water Festival programming expanded to several communities in Ontario, including Waterloo, Peel and Metro Toronto/York
  • In 2007 obtained charitable status through CWEC
  • Developing outreach programs to promote water messaging
  • Promoting local focus while maintaining a global perspective
The Festivals:
  • Promote community-based environmental education by working with local organizations
  • Facilitate unique water-based programs designed for children that are hands-on and interactive
  • Facilitate outreach to youth and young people about water careers and environmental leadership
  • Primary, middle school, high school?
  • Through the use of numerous water related activity centres, children in grade 2 through 5 explore their relationship with water in the outdoors
  • Activity Centres are Interactive and Fun!
Continued Success:
  • 2020 was to be 25th Anniversary of Waterloo festival, along with children’s water festivals in 30 communities across the province of Ontario
  • Almost 800,000 elementary school students in Ontario have attended a water festival
  • 100,000 High school student presenters
  • Our water cycle - some students have attended in grade school, instructed in high school, become involved in the water industry as a young adult, served on the organizing committee as a volunteer
In addition to the Ground Water Festivals the Education programs have extended to other areas:
  • Invited to support water education initiatives at:
    • Ontario Place
    • Science Center
    • Royal Ontario Museum
    • Science North
  • Presented All the Water in the World  at the Royal Winter Fair in partnership with Ministry of the Environment
  • Hosted 'Environment Month' at the Ontario Science Centre in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment
They have also developed an Environmental Field Course:
  • Hydrologic field course has been designed for grade 7 and 8 students
  • Monitor and study the interaction between groundwater and surface water
  • Pump wells, measure water levels, measure water quality – learn connection between groundwater and surface water
And an Environmental Leadership Camp:
  • An overnight event
  • Leadership skills for high school students
  • Introduce Careers in Water
  • Peer presentations
  • Hands-on field experience
  • Experiential education
All of these programs help to inspire young people:
  • Outreach programs that help to inspire and excite young people to think about their future.
  • A future where water plays a role in their education… encouraging post-secondary studies in the water field
  • Informing youth about the water industry - careers and occupations in the science, engineering, technology, operations…
  • Developing our future water leaders
The programs also help to provide students with information about future careers related to water:
  • Developed in-class presentations on careers in the water sector with OWWA
  • Created an interactive website
  • Encouraging students to understand the importance of water in their everyday lives through hands-on activities and action
  • Providing high school students with information for post-secondary studies
Soup Fest, is another activity they have taken on that serves as a fundraiser for the Ground Water Festivals is done in conjunction with World Water Day
  • an international observance initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janiero. 
  • March 2021 - Annual Soup Fest - cancelled - planning to resume in 2022
  • Soup Fest “just add water”
  • Rotary Club of Kitchener!
  • 8 restaurants – 1 winner!

Closing Remarks & Reminders

Thanks to the Kitchener Westmount Rotary Club for hosting the meeting today. 
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