LETHBRIDGE: Children at St. Martha's elementary school were covering the sidewalks with graffiti Wednesday. But this street art was perfectly legal. The students were painting yellow fish on pavement near storm-drains as part of an awareness campaign on water pollution. "It's important that they learn the message so they know that toxins can go in our water and affect our drinking water and all the animals and fishes and stuff inside our lakes," said Natalie Hopkins, the mother of a grade one student at the school. Hopkins also brought her two younger children to help paint. "I'm trying to teach them more about the environment and a program like this is good because it teaches them in their own simple language."
Leanne Harasym, the environmental program assistant for the City of Lethbridge, is helping coordinate this, the fifth annual "Yellow Fish Road" program. She agrees children are a great target group to reach out to with more information about preventing water pollution. "The intention is to raise awareness about storm water pollution because our storm water isn't treated before it returns to the river, it just goes direct," said Harasym. And she hopes the children will spread the message to their parents and other members of the community as well, both informally and through information pamphlets they'll be distributing to homes near the school.
Harasym's suggestions for how to cut back on water pollution include picking up after pets, keeping your yard clean, minimizing use of fertilizers and hand-pulling weeds instead of spraying them. The program continues to run all summer. To register your own children, you can call city hall.
Photo by Country 95 News: Five-year-old twins Rhett and Rachel Hopkins get a lesson in fish painting from Leanne Harasym, the environmental program assistant for the City of Lethbridge, at St. Mary's elementary school Wednesday.