Member Moments: The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA)

Organization Name:  The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA)

The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in the Province of Ontario, Canada. Our area of jurisdiction, the upper watershed of the Thames River, covers 3,432 square kilometres in southwestern Ontario and is home to approximately 485,000 people. The Thames is a Canadian Heritage River.

Each Conservation Authority takes its priorities from the needs of their watershed environment and residents. The UTRCA’s ends are:

    • protect life and property from flood and erosion
    • protect and improve water quality
    • preserve and manage natural areas
    • provide outdoor recreation opportunities

A key focus of the UTRCA is flooding and stormwater management education, especially aimed at the over 20,000 school-aged children we reach annually, including new, recently expanded programming funded by the National Disaster Mitigation Program.  

Is there something exciting happening at your organization?

The UTRCA recently launched a new "Escape the Flood!" Education Activity for students in grades 5 – 8.  The activity helps students understand the conditions that cause floods, how natural surfaces help manage floods, the risks associated with flooding and provides information about what to do in an emergency all via an escape room setting.   Students must solve flooding themed challenges and, if done within the allotted time, prevent a simulated flood occurrence.

Karlee Flear, Community Education Specialist at the UTRCA, said, "The new Escape Room challenges students in a relevant and meaningful way to work together and find solutions to a potential flood. To date, the reaction of the students has been fantastic – they have been engaged, challenged and learned a lot about flooding!"

Is there a success story or lessons learned you would like to share?

While it’s still in its early days, the Escape the Flood activity has illustrated the benefits of delivering conservation education in a method that is tailored to the specific audience. Given the current popularity of escape rooms, our community educators saw a real opportunity to utilize this tool for flood education. The images above illustrate the high level of engagement that it achieves.

Contact Information:
Karlee Flear - Supervisor, Community Education  
Email: Email: 519-451-2800 ext. 254

Learn more about The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority at or connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Member Moments highlights our members, sharing stories about what's going on in our community. 

Does your organization want to be included? Email

Article type: 
Blog entry
News Topic: 
Member Moments
Pillar Members

Whether you're looking for volunteer opportunities,
networking events or a job in the nonprofit sector, we can help.