Calling all water lovers!

This summer, become a Water Rangers Guardian. You get all the equipment you need (like testkits and flowers bees love) to learn about and protect waterways.

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Apply by April 5th

Become a citizen scientist, conduct water quality sampling and learn about issues affecting waterways this summer!

Monitoring regularly leads to greater protection of our waterways, both directly and indirectly (the ‘why’ here). We’re conducting important research on how participating in citizen science creates valuable data for scientific research and that it changes perceptions and behaviours. If you love water and want to learn more about water quality, you might just be a candidate to become Water Rangers Guardian!


  • Live in the St. Lawrence Watershed
  • Have regular access to fresh water (lake, river or stream) from June – October
  • Have permission to plant 10 plants/bushes on a shoreline
  • Are part of a community who is interested in learning about water stewardship

The St. Lawrence Watershed on the Ontario side includes Ottawa, Perth, Pembroke, Cornwall and most of Algonquin Park. It does not include Montreal, Kingston or North Bay

The challenges:

  1. Pick-up your testkit, get trained and make a testing plan
  2. Conduct your first water test
  3. Clean-up a shoreline
  4. Let a shoreline go natural
  5. Conduct water quality testing over time
  6. Become a Water Rangers Trainer
  7. Appreciate wildlife & nature
  8. Look out for invasive species
  9. Spread wildflower seeds
  10. Plant a shoreline (10 shrubs to naturalize 5m of shoreline)


How it works:

  • Apply by April 5. You will be notified by April 10 if you were successful
  • Late April/Early May you attend one of three in-person training session (occurring in Carleton Place, Ottawa, and Pembroke) where you will receive a water quality kit, how to train it, and will go over the program in more detail
  • Water quality testing includes tests for: temperature, pH, hardness, alkalinity, water clarity, dissolved oxygen. Learn more about the testkit
  • Complete fun photo challenges, water quality testing, etc. throughout the summer
  • You will get email reminders and check-ins. Most challenges will be released every 2 weeks, and will give you tips on how you can make it fun for you and your family/friends/community.
  • Learn from expert videos and share photos to help inspire those around you
  • In early Fall, you will have the opportunity to pick up 10 bushes and spread some native flower seeds (pick-up points to be determined)

You’ll be getting over $400 worth of supplies to help you throughout the summer, so we’re looking for people who are committed. Groups or individuals can apply to become one of 25 Water Rangers Guardian.  Examples of community groups include: Community organizations, Lake Associations, Youth Groups, Clubs, informal friend groups, etc.


More about the program

Water Rangers’ water quality kits were designed for both experienced and inexperienced water quality monitorers. The tests teach you about water health indicators. Regardless of background, we want to encourage more water lovers to become stewards of Ontario’s waterways. Canadians are proud of our fresh water, and so we want to give more people the chance to learn about and protect this precious resource. Last year, we had 17 groups who taught us a lot about how to support new water stewards. This is a continuation of that program!

There are 25 kits available for those willing to commit to complete these 10 challenges! Fifteen kits will go to community groups throughout the watershed, who will have a group champion trained on our protocols. Ten kits will be for individuals without a group. Everyone will also have access to online training and a field guide with instructions on how to conduct tests within their kit.

Julie Lachapelle, one of our favourite testers, shows off the conductivity test

The tests:

  • Give you results in the field, right away
  • Are easy-to-use (most tests are for all ages, and the dissolved oxygen test can be done with anyone 9+)
  • Can be completed in 5-10 minutes
  • Are relatively inexpensive
  • Give you a general idea on water’s health
  • Teach you about the scientific method
  • Are the most accurate we can find (we won’t let you do a test where your results are meaningless, and we compare your tools to those by professional probes)

Each kit contains…

  • Thermometer (air temperature)
  • Secchi disc (water clarity, water depth)
  • Test strips (pH, alkalinity, hardness; learn more here)
  • Conductivity meter (conductivity, water temperature)
  • CHEMet Dissolved Oxygen test
  • Sample container
  • Field sheets
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Whirly bags
  • ‘Suspect pollution’ collection kit
  • Field guide
  • Reacher stick

Explore the kit

Please note that the tests aren’t good enough to determine if water is safe for swimming or drinking (you need a lab for that). We are working with scientists to test new tools all the time, and those participating in this program may have the opportunity to help us with some new tests!


Important dates

  • Thursday, April 5 at midnight EST: Deadline to apply.
  • Tuesday, April 10: Find out if you have been chosen!
  • Late April/Early May: Dates and places to be determined, but you’ll be required to attend one of four training sessions (in Ottawa, Pembroke, Carleton Place or Perth) focused on giving you the chance to learn how to conduct tests, create your testing plan and get excited about your challenges!
  • End of April/May until October: Depending on when you can get out (sometimes the ice doesn’t melt until May!), you and your group will conduct monthly tests throughout the summer. Every few weeks, you’ll be encouraged to participate in an effort to create a snapshot of your area through water testing and other mini challenges. You will also have opportunities to participate in community challenges and earn prizes!

Applications are now finished.

On White Lake, where Melissa Dakers from Watersheds Canada helped us compare our kit to 2 professional probes

You’ll become part of a bigger network of Water Stewards

We want you to benefit from their expertise and help them better protect our waterways.


Near the Ottawa River? Meet the Riverkeeper!

Any group or individual who is in the Ottawa River Watershed will be encouraged to learn more about the Ottawa Riverkeeper. These amazing water lovers are protectors of our watershed. They will be able to support you if you discover issues in your regions.

Also on your side, the conservation authorities!

We have partnerships with Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) and Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) and friends at South Nation Conservation Authority (SNVA). These incredible agencies have other programs you might be interested in, and can help you with rules in your region.

In another part of Ontario?

That’s not a problem– we can help you connect you to local organizations that can give you on-the-ground support as needed.

What if I’m not in Ontario?

Unfortunately this program is for Ontario residents in the St. Lawrence Watershed. We wish we could give every group a kit because we believe that by learning about water, we all become more passionate about protecting it. These 25 kits are only available to groups and individuals in Ontario since it was funded by Ontario. But, if you’re in another area, you can buy a kit, or apply anyway and we will keep you in mind when we get additional funding.

If you or your organization are looking to write a grant to get some testkits, let us know and we can help!

Want to know more?

Thank you to the Great Lakes Guardian Fund for supporting this program. If you have any further questions about this program or anything we’re doing please contact us. We’ll be happy to help!



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