Focus on Ground Disturbance

Working with partners from the Alberta Common Ground Alliance (ABCGA), Alberta One-Call, Alberta Ag for Life and TransCanada Pipelines, we are developing two complementary education programs that focus on the importance of safe digging and ground disturbance.

Agforlife           aoc logo            ABCGA-logo          TC_CORP_2CPOS_CMYK_HighRes MARCH 2016

Elementary School Program

Utilizing rural area school connections and Agriculture for Life to disseminate program materials, we are developing age-appropriate print and online educational programs that introduce an age 9-12 audience to the basics of safe digging, such as colour-coding of underground utilities, the importance of calling or clicking before you dig, and some of the dangers of not properly locating underground infrastructure before you begin digging.

The online program will be comprised of both video/animated content and interactive games and activities that are designed to help young minds understand the concepts being introduced and to remember them long term.

To date, our focus has been wholly on a high school audience. This project is a big new step for our organization and the success of this new elementary age program could be an impetus for further educational developments aimed at a younger audience.

High School Program

We are also developing a high school level ground disturbance course that expands on the basic lessons comprising the elementary education program. The high school level course will include the same basic information that comprises the 9-12 program, but will also include a larger focus on the social, environmental and financial impacts of a ground disturbance damage event.

High-school aged students will easily absorb the basic lessons of ground disturbance, such as colour-codes and the need to call or click before digging.

Of greater importance with this age group is focusing on the why. Focusing on the consequences of ground disturbance gone wrong will illustrate for these students the significance of their responsibility, and empower them to make the right decisions for themselves and to encourage others to as well, whether parents, coworkers or employers.

Life-Long Learning

By developing both a 9-12 and a high school level program, we are creating the foundation for life-long learning. Organizations such as Alberta One-Call use things like radio, print and television ads, as well as social media engagement, to spread their messages about the importance of ground disturbance safety.

The messaging contained in Alberta One-Call advertisements will be more readily received by those who already have a basic understanding of what ground disturbance is and why it is important. By educating students from a young age, we are planting the seeds that will allow such messaging to reach them in a meaningful way and successfully impact their behaviour.

Introducing young children to the basics of safe digging will also encourage them to talk to their own parents and families about it, and to speak up if their parents are about to dig without first calling or clicking.