High-achieving high schoolers from across the nation will dive into Canada’s fresh water woes this week, hoping to find solutions allowing residents to be “more respectful” of the essential resource.

This month, 1,100 Grade 10 and 11 students will gather at universities across Canada – including 60 working virtually at Western University – for Shad2021. The prestigious enrichment program will see them tackle the “big wicked problem” of water issues, ranging from First Nations boil-water advisories to Lake Erie bacteria blooms.

The 40-year-old program, formerly known as SHAD Valley, brings together participants to expand their knowledge of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) and build entrepreneurship skills.

“We are very much looking for curious students in the program,” said Tim Jackson, chief executive of the four-week program.

”A lot of it is just bringing them together – particularly students from smaller communities. This might be the first time they realize there are other kids like them across the country.”

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