The Journey of a Water Droplet

Storytelling, a powerful art form that allows for the passing of knowledge, tradition, and different ways of being. Storytelling can grasp the creative reflections of thought, emotion, and the interconnectedness of it all.

In the virtual canvas course, students, teachers, and learners alike were able to explore their creative side when taking time to reflect on a local watershed in their area. Combining indigenous ways of knowing, climate science, and place-based education, teachers (and students) open themselves up to a different perspective that is often required to teach and learn about the ways climate change is shifting the natural ways of our world.

The following prompts were shared before the reflection activity…

Art is an expression of one’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, imagination, and the complexities interlocking all of those. There is no wrong answer when it comes to art and storytelling. Stories can be told through a variety of mediums; poetry, visual drawings, written or spoken word, graphic designs, abstract paintings, a dance, maybe writing or playing a song- the list goes on! Set the stage for students to tap into their own creative forms of expression and create their own story of a single water droplet.

Throughout your story, your water droplet must travel through all phases of the water cycle, pass through all four spheres, interact with human-made systems (maybe ends up as their drinking water?), and pass through watersheds of Whatcom County. Encourage students to think about any mountains, rivers, or creeks close to their home or your school. Maybe they have a special connection to Squalicum Beach, Whatcom Falls creek, or Mount Shuksan? Inspire students to think about what local animals or plants the water passed through or interacted with.

Knowing that water is finite (the same water remains on Earth forever!), and that we are all made up of water, how can you connect to water through a single water droplet? What does water mean to you?

Some questions students can reflect on:

  1. Was a connection built with that water droplet?
  2. What type of impact did human-made systems have on that water droplet?
  3. Was it recycled multiple times?
  4. Could it have been reused as “greywater”?
  5. What thoughts or feelings were brought up as you were building this story?

Allow yourself to follow the story of a single water droplet, created by a 4th-grade teacher (Emma Bodin) from Geneva elementary in Whatcom County.

As I was sitting on a rather uncomfortable rock looking out over the wind-whipped water of Lake Whatcom, eating my apple for lunch, as I always do, a water droplet was flung from a rather persistent wave and landed on my nose. It hung there for a brief moment before falling back down to join its brothers riding the next incoming wave. As I slowly chewed my apple, I thought to myself, “this must have been a strange stop in this little water droplet’s adventurous life”. I didn’t even know half the story…

Eons ago, this little water droplet was formed when two hydrogen atoms bonded with an oxygen atom. This was the very beginning of a long adventure of precipitation, travels through streams, lakes, and ground, vast time spent crossing endless oceans, evaporation, transforming into a lacy snowflake (for the billionth time), and finally drifting back to the earth to land among long lost cousins, all having a reunion on Rainbow Glacier, which was working it’s hardest to carve out a new design on Mt. Baker.

Here our little snowflake hardened into ice and snuggled in to wait his turn to be melted and set free along the rip-roaring road of the North Fork of the Nooksack River. Tumbling past rocks, thirsty wildlife, and steelhead fishermen, he finally finds himself in the relatively calm waters of Lake Whatcom.

After months of rest, narrow misses with water-intake pipes, kayakers, wakeboarders, fish gills, and adventures on wind-whipped whitecaps, our adventurous droplet found himself riding a small wave toward shore. Just as he was catching the curl, SLAM, a rock abruptly changed his trajectory! Sailing through the air, our little droplet’s life flashed before his eyes, but remembering that he could not be destroyed, decided to enjoy the ride – through the air and plopping innocently onto the nose of a human. “This must be a strange stop in this big human’s adventurous life”, thought the water droplet. He didn’t even know half the story….

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