River of Dreams
River of Dreams is a watershed based program for elementary students that introduces them to watershed terminology and looks into how their subwatershed fits into the Red River Basin. The International Water Institute (IWI) created and implements this program with support from the Red River Watershed Management Board and local watershed districts across the Red River of the North Basin. Staff from the Red Lake Watershed District helps teach the cirriculum to many schools throughout the Red Lake Watershed District. The program is typically done in two classroom visits.
First Classroom Visit
If so choosen by the school, each classroom will be asked to read a book called Paddle-to-the-sea before IWI or RLWD staff arrive to the classroom during the month of February. During the first classroom visit, a fun, interactive powerpoint will be shown to each classroom. Watershed terminology will be introduced and explained using visuals, short videos, and fill in the blank games. Using maps and Google Earth, each student will learn how their subwatershed fits into the Red River Basin while also coming to the understanding that all the water eventually flows to the ocean. At the end of the classroom visit, each student will be given a 14" cedar canoe for them to decorate and they are asked to write a statement/dream of what they hope their canoe's adventure will be like.
Each canoe has a specific ID code that is logged into a data base on the website https://riverofdreams.org/ . If someone along the rivers finds a canoe, they are able to report it to a website and the creator of the canoe will then get to see how far their canoe has traveled in the watershed!
Second Classroom Visit
Once the ice on the river has melted, and the rivers are flowing, IWI staff and/or RLWD staff will meet with the groups again. At this visit, instead of meeting in the classroom, we meet the kids typically at a park along a river that is close to their school. As a group, we review watershed terminology and review how the water they see at the park gets to the ocean. We then have each kid share something they hope their canoe will see or experience, such as animals or seasons or thunderstorms! We then ask for a few volunteers to read their dream they wrote for their canoe. Each kid then individually launches their canoe into the river and watches it move downstream as it begins its journey to the ocean.