RDRWA Outreach Update - Out & About (May 2015)

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RDRWA has a new Summer Student!

Janessa Matthew - RDRWA Summer StudentWe are very pleased to introduce you to Janessa Matthew, our Summer Outreach Assistant. You will see Janessa working alongside Joey Temple, our Outreach Coordinator, as she visits schools, groups, and other events during the summer. She will also be assisting the Piper Creek Restoration Agriculture Project workshops while completing a 72-hour permaculture design certification! Janessa is majoring in Education at Red Deer College (RDC) and she really enjoys the teaching aspect of her work. As well as a number of volunteer positions, Janessa has 6 years performing arts experience and is an RDC student ambassador. She brings a lot of joy to our office, and to this summer outreach position as a whole.

Welcome aboard Janessa!
 


Celebrating Earth Day - the RDRWA Out & About in the Watershed

April 22nd is a special day every year. It is the day we take a time out to celebrate Earth Day and truly appreciate the land, air, water, and biodiversity that sustain us.

For us working in the office of the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance, Earth Day is also a perfect excuse to leave our computers behind and embark on an outdoor adventure. And so we did…

This Earth Day we decided to explore the headwaters of the Red Deer River watershed - the origin of our waters. Luck was on our side, the sky was a bright vivid blue and the sun was shining. Over the course of the day, we made five stops as shown in the map below:

  • Confluence of the Medicine River: We stopped next to a scenic spot on the Medicine River, one of the major tributaries feeding into the larger Red Deer River. Amidst the catkins of the willows blooming, we took it as a sure sign that spring was on its way.


 

  • Medicine River Wildlife Recovery Centre: This centre is a refuge for sick and injured animals in Central Alberta. Under the care of a dedicated team, animals ranging from hawks, to elk, to beavers are brought back to health and released back into the wild. We were fortunate to meet with Carol Kelly, the Executive Director of the Centre, who gave us a tour of the building, which is currently under renovation. The folks at the centre are about to launch a campaign that will hopefully help them pay for some much needed building renovations and keep up with the public demand for their services and educational programming. If you’re curious to learn more, be sure to check out their website.
     
  • Burnstick Lake: Stop #3 is a hidden gem located southwest of Caroline, a lake with sweeping views of the mountains and smooth shimmering water that looks perfect for paddling. Unfortunately, the unsightly remains of a lakeside camping party - beer bottles, plastic wrappers, and other miscellaneous leftovers, interrupted our reverie. In any case, one member of our group had never been to the lake before, and she is now looking forward to taking her son to stay at the campground there. She also plans to teach him how to “leave no trace” in nature.
     
  • Red Deer River west of Sundre: We continued our journey south and stopped on the banks of the beautiful Red Deer River west of Sundre, at a stop where riffles cascaded over boulders. We also saw signs of where the river flood in 2013. A visual reminder of the power of the Red Deer River.
     
  • Ya Ha Tinda: Have you ever heard the song “Ya Ha Tinda Bound”? We recommend it. We spent Earth Day humming the song and we were happy when we finally made it to this unique spot. Ya Ha Tinda is the only government run ranch in Canada, and it is where the horses of Park Wardens roam across the grasslands of the lower foothills in the off-season. Signs of the authentic cowboy culture are still present in this isolated and beautiful valley, and we all stood in awe looking at the horses running across the fields against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

Ya Ha Tinda sign

All in all, it was a wonderful Earth Day spent outside exploring the headwaters of the Red Deer River watershed. As we made our way across the varied landscape, we were also reminded that we share the land, air, and water with a diverse group of animals. We saw hawks, white tailed deer, elk, red squirrels, a red winged blackbird, a beaver, a bluebird, and a ptarmigan. We also saw traces and heard signs of other wildlife: the nest of an osprey, the droppings of a moose, the thrumming of a male grouse, and a fox den.

Between the water and the wildlife, we felt a renewed sense of purpose moving forward with our work. Now if only every day was Earth Day.

Submitted by Josée Méthot - Watershed Planning Coordinator and Joey Temple - Outreach Coordinator

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