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Spring Water Awareness Program - Grades 4-7

Spring Water Awareness ProgramThe Spring Water Awareness Program (SWAP) helps students increase their understanding of river systems and the hazards associated with them.

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) reaches out to schools located within the Ausable-Bayfield watersheds. SWAP includes both guided and interactive activities and the students have fun while learning about making appropriate safety decisions around waterways.


SWAP is a FREE program available to all schools within Ausable Bayfield Conservation watersheds from November to April. 

Students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 enjoy the age-appropriate activities that are designed to teach children about the dangers of seasonal water hazards, such as slippery stream banks, fast running waters and thin ice.

SWAP has now been integrated into the Our Water World program at the Primary Level and into the Get to Know your H20 program for Grade 8.  Please book these in-school programs to ensure students learn about dangers around water.

Ask about booking SWAP in your classroom for grades 4-7. 

ABCA elementary watershed schools are welcome to book your FREE SWAP by contacting Denise Iszczuk at diszczuk(at) or phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 or visit the staff contacts list.

  • Website Links – Scroll to the heading Spring Water Awareness Program for some useful information on teaching about being safe around water

Key Messages

Accidents are the leading cause of death among children 5-15 years of age. Many accidents are the result of lack of education and awareness. A concerted effort on all of our parts to teach children the dangers of thin ice and fast flowing rivers and creeks will give them the edge they need to play safely and avoid a tragedy this spring.

  1. Never play by water when you are alone.
  2. Always have an adult check if the ice is thick enough before you play on it.
  3. Never stand up in a canoe.
  4. Always wear a life jacket near water.
  5. Never drink water directly from a river or creek or pond.
  6. Always read warning signs near water.
  7. Never play by dams and water control structures.
  8. Always tell an adult where you are playing and when you'll be home.
  9. Call 911 or get a parent or guardian for all water-related emergencies.

Key Terms

Black, Gray or Blue Ice: Dark areas of ice that are thin and weak spots

Channel: The area between the banks of a stream where water normally flows

Conservation: The wise use and protection of our natural resources

Conservation authority: A community-based environmental protection agency with responsibilities under the Conservation Authorities Act.

Culvert: A large pipe or tube that allows water to flow under a road or driveway

Current: The force of moving water

Dam: A barrier set across a river to control the flow of water

Disoriented: Confused; unable to make sense of one's surroundings

Erosion: The movement of soil by wind, water or ice

Evaporation: The process by which water turns into a gas and goes to the sky.

Flood: The overflowing of water in a river onto the flood plain

Flood plain: The flat land beside a watercourse that periodically becomes covered by water; the river's living space

Freshet: A great increase in the amount of water in a stream caused by heavy rains or melting snow, usually in the spring

Hazard: A source of danger or risk, especially to one's personal safety

Hypothermia: A life-threatening condition in which a person's deep body temperature is lowered by exposure to cold air or water.

Water Cycle: The process of water movement from the ground to the sky and back.

Waterway: Any body of water flowing into another body of water

Watershed: An area of land that drains into a river or lake

Wetland: A type of habitat that has water in it for all or part of the year.