“We send out a massive email to tens of thousands of schools in the fall and also follow up with reminder emails, and that’s when most people set up,” SDWF executive director Nicole Hancock said.
Among the kits are the elementary and high school versions of the Operation Water Drop kit, the Operation Water Pollution kit and Operation Water Biology kit. The elementary school kits cost $70, while the other kits are priced at $140.
The SWDF aims to ship out about 1,000 kits per year, with an average of 50,000 students benefiting from 1,000 kits. By issuing these kits, the SDWF’s main goal is to educate students about drinking water quality.
“It kind of depends on the program. In the case of the Operation Water Drop kits, (students) learn about their local water and how water is tested in actual labs,” Hancock said. “They learn about the guidelines for Canadian drinking water quality, and they see if their local drinking water meets all of those guidelines.”
In addition to educating students about drinking water quality issues and solutions, teachers and principals have attested to the kits allowing the opportunity for more hands-on learning with regard to science experiments.
“It motivates them to take more science classes and to pursue careers in science,” Hancock said.
The SDWF began operations in 1998, with its head office always being in Saskatchewan. Anyone can make a donation, but key sponsors of the SDWF fund the majority of kits.
Schools in rural Saskatchewan tend not to acquire SDWF kits because the foundation’s largest funder, TD Bank Group, has fewer branches in those areas. However, Mosaic ensured that every Saskatchewan school received the kits they requested last year by contributing more than $10,000.
“There are not as many (schools) in Saskatchewan as there are in some of the other provinces, but there is definitely still a need in many communities in Saskatchewan,” Hancock said. “It really depends on where they’re located (to determine) what their chances are of (acquiring sponsored kits).
“It depends on where we get funding from, but if you’re not in Saskatchewan, then odds are your chances are not very good if you don’t have a TD Bank in your community,” Hancock added.
Past users of the SDWF kits have included the Ranch Ehrlo Society and a number of schools in Prince Albert and the surrounding area. Currently, John Diefenbaker School is the only school in the city of Prince Albert on the waiting list.
For more information regarding the SDWF, visit: