Conservation Stewardship in Action: Protecting the PEI Winter River/Tracadie Bay Watershed
“The pen is just as mighty as the paddle.”

This lesson focuses on a watershed vital to Charlottetown: the Winter River/Tracadie Bay Watershed, the source of the city's water. Students will review inspiring quotations about water and participate in a discussion about who should protect watersheds. They will learn about how the watersheds of Prince Edward Island are protected and assume the roles of various sectors that form the Watershed Alliance. Finally, they will write a communication that expresses one major concern they have about the watershed.




Quote Ann Casselman and introduce two significant, revealing quotations from renowned environmentalists:

Ann Casselman:The pen is just as mighty as the paddle.” 

Rachel Carson: “In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference.” 

Jacques Cousteau: “We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.”

Distribute the Student Activity Sheet.  Assign question #1.

Invite students to interpret the meaning of the lesson title, reminding them that this will become the focus of the lesson later.
Define “watershed.” (According to The Canadian Atlas Online, a watershed or a drainage basin “is an area of land which serves as a funnel collecting water from many smaller feeder funnels into a larger tributary which ultimately delivers the water to the ocean via a river or river system.”)

Instructing the students to take jot notes for future reference and utilizing the Watersheds of Canadaposter-map (map side), employ a telescoping process to introduce the watershed.  There are three salient points:

  • The Canadian Atlas Online informs us that 47% of all the land in the world drains to the Atlantic Ocean.
  • In Canada, the Atlantic Ocean directly drains the Saint Lawrence River, the Great Lakes basins, and all the Maritime Provinces.
  • A watershed vital to students of Charlottetown is the Winter River/Tracadie Bay Watershed, the source of the city’s water. Emphasize that the specific source of the city’s water is a series of wells located within the watershed.

Lesson Development

Assign question # 2 on the Student Activity Sheet.

Show the video Our Waters RunDeep, a useful introduction to Charlottetown’s water supply and usage.

After viewing, explain that in Prince Edward Island, the watersheds are protected by a partnership between Government and the recently appointed Watershed Alliance.  (Sectors composing the Alliance include: agriculture, fishing and shell-fishing, forestry, community or municipal councils, tourism, and others.)

Invite opinions of this partnership.

Present a recent communication (February 7, 2011) found on the Welcome to the City of Charlottetown site:
“The City of Charlottetown is taking a good look at the sustainability of our most valued resource—our clean, clear drinking water.  We are concerned about pressure on the Winter River watershed and are trying to find innovative ways to conserve our supply so our youngest residents will have clean drinking water in the future.”

Ask, “What do you consider to be the current concerns about the Winter River/Tracadie Bay Watershed?”


Refer again to Ann Casselman’s quote. Add Ms. Casselman’s assertion that, “…many of our watershed victories result from letters, petitions, bill amendments, etc.”

Through a role-playing exercise, students will attempt to put the words “the pen is just as mighty as the paddle” into action.

In the spirit of Ms. Casselman’s words, to “Speak for your river”, direct the student groups, with reference to question #3 on the Student Activity Sheet, to write a letter from the perspective of possible stakeholders. (In order to get a diversity of views, assign each group one of the sectors listed: agriculture, fishing, forestry, community or municipal councils, tourism.

Request that students share their writings and submit their activity sheets.



In groups of three or four that will remain consistent throughout the lesson, discuss the implications of these quotations.  

Complete the question and share responses with the class.

Interpret the title orally.

Note the definition.

Take jot notes of key points for future reference.

Lesson Development

Complete the question in groups and share responses.

Continue to add information to jot notes.

Based on what they have discovered, offer opinions on partnership.

Respond orally to the question, stating current concerns.


Answer the question in writing and share the ideas with the class.

Present viewpoints to the class and submit completed activity sheets.

Lesson Extension

  • Research other watersheds in Prince Edward Island.
  • Write to the partnership that protects the Winter River/Tracadie Bay Watershed.
  • Go on a field trip to explore a local watershed.