IJC becomes Watermark Project’s latest Collector: Share your story with the Great Lakes’ long-standing guardian
Last week, the International Joint Commission ("IJC") began partnering with the Watermark Project to collect stories from around the Great Lakes. The IJC is the most recent and highest profile addition to our growing list of collectors and contributors to the project.
The Watermark Project was born out of a need to protect the Great Lakes basin. Our freshwater paradise is not as “great” as it should be.
Part of the problem is lack of communication between government and the public. Government doesn’t know enough about how people use the lakes, what they love and value about the lakes, and what needs to be done to protect the waters we love.
To bridge that gap, we started asking people to recount their powerful memories of water. In almost every instance, people told us stories of bodies of waters that have shaped their lives. We call these stories Watermarks.
As we started collecting these stories and mapping them according to the waterbody where they took place, we discovered that the act of sharing a Watermarks increases self-awareness and empowered new leaders. The mapping of stories builds tighter watershed communities. And the facts contained in the stories provided compelling motivation to enforce environmental laws and regulations in the region.
Since the Watermark Project launched in January, we’ve added many new Collectors (53 to be precise). But the addition of the IJC is extra exciting. This 103 year-old institution is at the forefront of protecting the Great Lakes and all Canada-US boundary waters. They are a special, bi-national organization that sets the tone for managing waterbodies shared by multiple countries.
We hope all Great Lakes citizens will take advantage of this opportunity to tell the IJC their Great Lakes stories. If you like the project, you can even become a Collector yourself.
It’s a simple, but powerful first step: telling and recording Great Lakes water stories is key to making them swimmable drinkable and fishable again.
To kick off the IJC's Watermark collection, here are two Watermarks from the IJC's Canadian and US Chairs – Gordon Walker and Lana Pollack!