World Water Day 2024 Youth Event

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Making a Splash! Celebrating Manitoba’s newest Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area

March 20, 2024 @ 9:30 am – 2:00 pm 


World Water Day logo. Tagline reads, "2024 Water for Peace".



*NOTE: The official World Water Day is on March 22, but we are hosting our event a couple of days earlier so you can debrief with your students before Spring Break!


The Manitoba Museum, and Science First, are celebrating World Water Day 2024 with our second annual World Water Day youth event. This year, we are “Making a Splash” by shining the spotlight on Manitoba’s NEWEST Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area – the Seal River Watershed 

Content of the event is geared towards senior years (Grades 9-12), however, keen and engaged students from Grades 6-8 are welcome. Currently, we are asking for one adult to attend for every 9 youth participants. Students will be asked to split up in pairs or trios at separate tables to ensure table discussions from a diverse group. At least one adult (teacher, chaperone, Museum staff/volunteer) will be at each table to ensure discussions are facilitated properly. 

We’ve got an exciting line-up of speakers, presentations, and activities all geared towards engaging youth about water conservation, water-related issues, and actions towards collaborative water stewardship.  

ON-SITE GROUP CHECK-IN: Starts at 9:00 am
EVENT START: 9:30 am
LUNCH: Participants should bring their own boxed lunch and will eat at tables in Alloway Hall
EVENT ENDS: 2:00 pm

The event kicks off with a welcome and reflection by Indigenous Elder Florence Paynter. Elder Paynter graced us last year with a warm, informative, and engaging conversation, and we are thrilled to have her back again to share her wisdom and experiences regarding water. 

Our keynote presentation follows, and this year we are getting a double treat with TWO amazing Indigenous leaders to talk about Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and the Seal River Watershed, our province’s newest IPCA! 

We’ll hear from the CEO of the Seal River Watershed Alliance, Stephanie Thorassie, and Eli Enns, an internationally recognized expert on Indigenous-led conservation. Together, they’ll headline a dynamic and interactive chat on their work, followed by a Q&A. 

Together they’ll cover important factors regarding this issue, including: 

  • What are IPCAs, and why are they important? 
  • The journey towards creating the Seal River Watershed IPCA and how it can be mobilized. 
  • The importance of the Seal River Watershed to Manitoba and the environment. 
  • The relationship between Indigenous culture and water stewardship and how it can foster reconciliation. 
  • The connection between local stewardship efforts and global impact. 

Following a Q&A and short break, participants will then head out for the first of two breakout sessions. 

Half of the participants will head to the Planetarium to watch our newest 360-degree feature show – Worlds of Ice. The other half will get to choose two smaller breakout sessions with exciting topics such as: 

  1. Exploring Canada’s waterways with the Canadian Geographic Giant Floor Map
  2. Nutrient Pollution: The Culprit!
  3. Investigating Microplastics at the Experimental Lakes Area
  4. More sessions to be confirmed! 

After lunch, participants will hear from our partner, Science First, on what they do before heading out to the second series of breakout sessions and Worlds of Ice planetarium show. 

And finally, all participants will come together to reflect on the day’s events and discuss possible actions to help them along a potential path towards youth advocacy, reconciliation, and water stewardship! 

Admission to this event is FREE thanks to the generous support of the Graham C. Lount Family Foundation. This event is done in partnership with Science First and GenAction. 


Looking to register youth? Complete our registration form here.

Featured Speakers:

Elder Florence Paynter

Elder Florence Paynter

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba (TRCM)’s Council of Elders and Speaker Bureau

A Member of the Sandy Bay First Nation Treaty Territory 1 and a Norway House Cree Nation Treaty Territory 5A. Florence is a fourth degree Mide Anishinabekwe and holds a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Manitoba.

Florence speaks Anishinabe fluently and has been involved in many language and cultural initiatives and ceremonies. She helps teach the cultural and spiritual knowledge and traditions of the Anishinabe people. Florence attended residential school and works hard to teach about the history of her people, the legacy of Indian residential schools, and its impact on Indigenous people.

Eli Enns

Eli Enns

IISAAK OLAM Foundation Co-founder, Director and CEO

Eli Enns is an internationally recognized expert in Indigenous-led conservation. From Tla-o-qui-aht Nation on his father’s side, and of Dutch Mennonite heritage on his mother’s side, Eli promotes holistic solutions for community and ecosystem health and well-being. With a background in political science, Eli is a ‘Nation-builder’ with values and approaches rooted in Indigenous economic theory and practice.

In 2017, a decade after co-founding the Ha-uukmin Tribal Park in his own territory, Eli co-chaired the Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE) for the Pathway to Canada Target 1, which culminated with the groundbreaking 2018 report, We Rise Together: Achieving Pathway to Canada Target 1 through the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) in the spirit and practice of reconciliation. IPCAs are now a central component of Canada’s conservation efforts. Eli supports Indigenous Nations across Canada to advance their conservation efforts via his roles with the IISAAK OLAM Foundation and the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership. 

What are Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas?
An Interview with Eli Enns, co-founder of the IISAAK OLAM Foundation 

Stephanie Thorassie

Stephanie Thorassie

Executive Director – Seal River Watershed Alliance

Stephanie is a member of the Sayisi Dene First Nation from Tadoule Lake, Manitoba, and is honoured to work on behalf of her community. Before becoming executive director of the Seal River Watershed Alliance, Stephanie served as the Director of Operations.

The Government of Canada’s relocation of the Sayisi Dene in the 1950s revealed the trauma that occurs when Dene people can’t practice their laws and be authentically themselves. A strong relationship with the land helps people heal and thrive, and Stephanie is humbled to be a part of sustaining connections to the land, culture, and caribou. She is committed to showcasing Indigenous knowledge and leadership on the land and creating opportunities for Indigenous youth to succeed in their communities.  

Stephanie has a degree from the University of Manitoba, as well as a legal assistant diploma from Red River College. She is a student of her Dene language, hide tanner, jewelry maker, and caribou eater. She is also an avid gardener, growing bountiful harvests she shares with friends and family. Stephanie lives in Winnipeg with her partner and daughter and lives part time in her community of Tadoule Lake. 

More info: 


In partnership with: 

Science First logo.