Charity using technology and storytelling to protect Canadian waters, launches new online archive called "Watermark Project" (Press Release)
The Watermark Project was developed by Waterkeeper in Toronto and inspired by filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal, Nick de Pencier, photographer Edward Burtynsky
(March 2, 2016) -- Canadians can now register their favourite waterbody and share a story that will help protect waterways for generations to come, thanks to a new online archive created by Waterkeeper.
Waterkeeper, a Canadian environmental charity, recently launched the "Watermark Project" at www.watermarkproject.ca.
The name "Watermark" refers to the subtle, unique impression that a body of water leaves on each person. It is also a nod to the 2013 documentary by supporters Baichwal, de Pencier, and Burtynsky that served as a catalyst for dialogue about water issues across Canada, "Watermark."
The project is a response to declining water quality and habitat loss across Canada.
"Study after study says Canadians have a stronger connection to nature and water than any other country in the world. Yet we rank last in the developed world for environmental protection, energy efficiency, and pollution," says environmental lawyer Mark Mattson.
"Canada will never have a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future if people don't become more aware of the important role water plays in their lives. Discovering your Watermark is step one," says Mattson.
Recognizing the need to do a better job safeguarding people's love - and need - for their local waterways, Mattson and the team at Waterkeeper set about creating this archive.
Contributors simply name their favourite body of water and submit a story describing a moment or time when that waterbody influenced their life. Stories range from happy memories of fishing with family to descriptions of polluted waters and disconnection from the natural environment.
In the future, researchers will be able to use this information to better understand where people are swimming, drinking, and fishing from Canadian waters. This information can also be used to inform law and policy decisions that will better protect waterways.
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"Everyone has a Watermark story. Whether it's a happy one or a story of loss, your Watermark explains the real reason water matters to you. If we lose these stories, there is a good chance we will lose or abuse those waterbodies, too." -- Waterkeeper and environmental lawyer, Mark Mattson
- Early Watermark contributors include: photographer Barbara Cole, pitcher Bill Lee, poet Dani Couture, editor Emily Keeler, writer Joseph Boyden, musician Josh Finlayson, Olympian Karen Percy Lowe, NHL's Kevin Lowe, musician Sarah Harmer, NHL's Steve Shutt, writer Tanis Rideout, NHL/writer Terry Ryan, and writer Todd Babiak.
- Founding partners for Watermark Project include Camp Onakawana, Fraser Riverkeeper, North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper, and Ottawa Riverkeeper.
- Contributing organizations also include McKeil Marine, RBC, and University of Toronto (Department of Anthropology).
- Creation of the Watermark Project archive was funded with a $100,000 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership Grant.
- Watermark Project is built on Heroku and managed by a custom Salesforce app, made possible by the Salesforce for Nonprofits program.
- Watermark Project was developed by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Waterkeeper is a Canadian charity helping communities prosper by safeguarding swimmable, drinkable, fishable waters. It is home to Swim Guide, the popular beach information service, and the National Water Centre, Canada's first facility dedicated to water and culture.
Social Media Summaries
Just launched: The Watermark Project is a new, online archive where Canadians like you can register their favourite bodies of water. Share a story, and help ensure your waterbody is protected for generations to come. Created by Waterkeeper in Toronto and free for all Canadians, the Watermark Project is online at www.watermarkproject.ca.
Just launched: The Watermark Project is a new, online archive where Canadians like you can register their favourite bodies of water. Share a story, and help ensure your waterbody is protected for generations to come. Led by Fraser Riverkeeper in BC and free for all Canadians, the Watermark Project is online at www.watermarkproject.ca.
Just launched: Go to the Watermark Project to register your favourite waterbody and share a story: www.watermarkproject.ca.
E.g., Kevin Lowe's Watermark includes Shuswap Lake, BC. http://bit.ly/KLoweWMP Where is your favourite waterbody? Use #mywatermark.
Hashtag: #mywatermark and #swimdrinkfish
- Project website: www.watermarkproject.ca
- A complete list of contributors: www.watermarkproject.ca/contributors
- Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's website: www.waterkeeper.ca