Tag Archives: Students

Stream of Dreams: Only Rain Down the Drain

Stream of Dreams


 By Sasha Benevides, Festival Coordinator; and, Norm Miller, Communications Advisor 

If you’ve been anywhere in Halton, or even in Hamilton and Mississauga, you’ve probably seen them. Beautifully painted, wooden fish, ‘swimming’ together, attached to a fence beside a school. Sometimes you can find them beside a park, but most often they’re beside a school.

These wooden fish murals are a reminder to those who painted them (predominantly children) of the fish and other creatures who live in the creeks and streams in their community, and how important it is for us to protect their home.

This message is what Stream of Dreams is mainly about, protecting our creeks, lakes, rivers and streams for the fish and other creatures who live there and don’t have a voice. It is a reminder that what goes down the storm drain on your street will end up in those bodies of water. So for example, if you live in Burlington and dump a quart of motor oil down the storm drain, rather than disposing it at the proper waste management site for appropriate recycling, chances are it’s going to Lake Ontario!

Stream of Dreams was launched by Conservation Halton in 2006, when it became the first program outside British Columbia, where it was created. Conservation Halton has delivered Stream of Dreams to more than 70 schools and groups reaching 28,000 (28768 to be exact) students and people in the community since launching in 2006.

Each elementary school that participates is required to pay $5 a student and do a lot of work before Conservation Halton’s Stream Team arrives in the school. They prepare and cut their fish so every student and teacher can paint their dream fish. The schools receive a template to ensure they properly cut their salmon, pike and sunfish and more.

The appeal of the program to schools is Conservation Halton’s Stream Team customizes their stream talk so the students learn about the creek or stream in their community. In addition, they ensure the talk is geared to the students they’re presenting to so the message relates to students from kindergarten to grade 8. No matter the age, the students are interested and engaged!

Once their stream talk is complete the students go into the painting room to complete their one of a kind dreamfish which will go on the fence to remind them and everyone in the school community of the important message they just heard.

This year Conservation Halton is celebrating the tenth year of bringing Stream of Dreams to its watershed and will be visiting ten schools starting in  April 2015. If you’re interested in bringing Stream of Dreams to your school, please contact Conservation Halton. We are always looking for donations of plywood and volunteers to cut fish as well. You can call us at 905-336-1158 or send an e-mail to our Stream of Dreams Coordinator.

About Stream of Dreams

The Stream of DreamsTM Program brings awareness to communities about their local watersheds through environmental education and stunning public artwork. The goal of the program is to improve water quality, while at the same time creating a community art legacy as a reminder of our environmental responsibilities.

The program originated in Burnaby, British Columbia where it is administered by the Stream of Dreams Murals Society. Conservation Halton is proud to be the first organization to officially bring the program to Ontario and to our watershed! There are Stream Teams in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.



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Halton Children’s Water Festival 2012

We asked Halton Children’s Water Festival coordinator, Meagan Byrne (@meg_i_Byrne), to guest blog about her experience planning and organizing the 2012 Halton Children’s Water Festival. Meagan had the job of filling in for a maternity leave half-way through and had to hit the ground running. She’s done a great job and here are her thoughts about the lead up to the festival:

“The final week has begun and the entire HCWF team is in overdrive mode. These are the times I like the best, because when you have months to work on details it is easy have your excitement for the event wane. Well this week will certainly make up for that!

This week a lot happened. The new HCWF website went live, the tents went up, the activity materials were dusted off, and newly purchased items are coming in every day. This can all come together so well because of my amazing co-workers and the hard work of the HCWF committee. Each person puts in so much to get this festival going every year it’s hard to think how I could do it without them.

One of the things I have enjoyed most about this job is working on our new website. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been amazing being part of such a great project. It’s had its difficulties, there’s nothing more frustrating than writing out a block of text only to realise that you have added an extra space or forgotten to add a link. But when it’s done and you can see your hard work, well, there’s nothing like website development to make you feel like your effort has had a tangible effect.

In the end any event, no matter how small, is always the end result of a lot of effort and it is the event planner’s lot to always be thinking “Okay it’s over and went well….What’s next?” I know that once the event starts and everything is going smoothly, I too will be thinking wistfully “What’s next?”

So what do you guys think of the new website? http://www.hcwf.ca We’d love to hear your thoughts!

We would like to thank the HCWF sponsors for all their support.

  • Aird & Berlis
  • City of Burlington
  • Cole Engineering
  • GE Power & Water
  • Town of Halton Hills
  • Town of Milton
  • Nalco
  • R.V. Anderson Associates
  • Storage Solutions
  • Thomson Rogers

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World Water Day – March 22 2012

By Beth Anne Fischer, Halton Children’s Water Festival and Volunteer Coordinator


2010 Pineview pic2

In celebration of Canada Water Week and International World Water Day (March 22) W.H. Morden Public School in Oakville is implementing the Stream of Dreams program. From March 19 – 22 all the students in the school will learn about ways to protect water and paint a wooden “dream fish.”

These fish, which were cut and diligently prepared by the grade seven and eight students will be installed on the school’s fence in a decorative mural. The mural will serve as a reminder to the students and the broader community to take care of water for the benefit of human health and all creatures that depend on aquatic ecosystems.

2010 St. Andrew pic2

Stream of Dreams teaches students about where the water in our homes comes from, where it goes after we use it and the hidden pathway from storm drains to creeks/lakes. Most students (and many adults) do not know that the water that goes down the storm drain (the square grate on the road) goes directly into waterways without being treated. This can cause problems as many people commonly dump items down the storm drain that are harmful to our ecosystems and water quality.

Some of the items doing damange to our water ways:
– Soapy water
– Motor oil
– Pool water
– Sand
– Paint water
– Cooking oil
– Garbage
– Cleaning chemicals

Take some time on Thursday March 22 to learn how to properly dispose of these contaminates, celebrate water and reflect on the vital role it plays in all or our lives!

Learn More:

For more information on the Stream of Dreams or other education programs that Conservation Halton offers, click here.


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Halton Children’s Water Festival 2011

By Rafay Agha, Interactive Media Writer, Conservation Halton

Between First Nations story-telling, poo-tag (yes, you read that correctly), puppet shows, pioneer water-bucket races and countless other Halton Children’s Water Festival (HCWF) activities, Kelso Conservation Area was buzzing with excitement last week. Outburst of laughter, oohs, aahs and shrieks of joy made for a festival that can be best described as controlled chaos. Afterall, we’re talking about grade two, three, four and five students here. We want them to be loud, engaged and excited! The festival ran from September 27th to 30th 2011, and hundred of high school, community, staff and partner volunteers come out to support the cause of keeping responsible water management top of mind.

Excited (and competitive) grade three students wait their turn at the Pioneer Water Challenge led by Milton District high school students

Each grade occupies a separate camp area at Kelso and elementary students rotate from activity to activity and tent to tent. Within each tent, professional or high school volunteers demonstrate and facilitate different workshops or activities. Luckily this year the weather cooperated and cool, grey mornings made way for bright (dare we say warm?) afternoons. 

Darby and Amanda from Milton District High School enjoying some peace and quiet early in the morning before the elementary school students arrive

Each activity lasted either 15 or 30 minutes at which point the air horn would go off and the students rotated to another tent. Activities cater to school curriculum and this can lead to some very good questions and discussion, especially among the grade fours and fives.

The Festival is co-hosted by Conservation Halton and Halton Region in partnership with the Halton District School Board, the Halton Catholic District School Board, the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville in order to create a successful and financially sustainable water festival in Halton. A number of community sponsors also support the Festival.

Could you ask for a better view?

 To find out more about the Halton Children’s Water Festival, feel free to comment below or visit http://www.hcwf.ca/

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