RDRWA Outreach Update - Out & About (June 2015)

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Out and About in the Watershed

JoeyTempleTeaching.jpg-small(Photo Credit: Janessa Matthew)

As the days of summer come upon us, the School Programs wrap up with the end of the school year. This year has kept the outreach team hopping. The fast pace has been an exciting and a wonderful learning experience, it is sorrowful that it is over. However, I for one am still looking forward to the change of pace which will be found in the Summer Camps and events Outreach will be involved in around the Red Deer Watershed. During School Program season, Outreach has visited a large variety of students and schools. Students from kindergarten to grade 8 were all apart of this years season, however; there was a large emphasis on grade 5s due to RDRWA's famous wetland program. The best part was the wonder seen in students eyes as they not just learned about the diversity and health of the Red Deer River Watershed, but also, experienced it. We visited many schools as well, some having an affect on multiple watersheds. This made our work even more rewarding, as building the foundations of water quality stewardship starts with education. I have had the pleasure of learning from Joey the important role of environmental education in the classroom. I will take these experiences with me throughout my future career.
 

RDRWA's Excellent Adventure

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanger) Nature Conservancy of Canada Signage
On Thursday, June 25th the RDRWA had an "Excellent Adventure" at Pine Lake. The Stewardship Program included wetland assessment and macrophyte raking. To start our Excellent Adventure we congregated around the wetland on the Lawrence property (Nature Conservancy Canada-managed land). Alia Snively, Red Deer River Area lead for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and also one of the new RDRWA board members, gave a talk on the property and the role of NCC.

(Photo Credit: Rene Michalak) Drained wetland formerly contained by a beaver dam; note high-level water mark on trees

Everyone then enjoyed a sandwich lunch and conversation in the beautiful setting under a warm blue Alberta sky. And Rene Michalak brought some honeyberries (haskaps) to share for dessert!

After lunch, the group all headed off to the day-use area where Alyssa from the Alberta Lake Management Society (ALMS) led the group on a macrophyte identification exercise. Through rake throwing the group learned about the submerged flora present in Pine Lake. She also explained how this is an important practice for identifying any invasive plants that may have taken root in a waterway. For example, the group learned the difference between our native Richard’s Milfoil and the invasive Eurasian Milfoil. The group examined the Richard’s Milfoil and compared its characteristics to its non-present Eurasian counterpart.

Collecting the samples was personally my favorite part. It was enjoyable and hilarious to watch those in attendance throwing the rake into the water. It required a technique which can only be described as a mixture of horseshoes and steer-roping. The rake would awkwardly jerk in surprise when it literally reached the end of its rope. The enthusiasm was contagious as the volunteers each threw their own rake in order to collect a flora sample. In conclusion, not only was the Stewardship Program informative, but is was also truly an excellent adventure. SUCCESS!

submitted by Janessa Matthew - RDRWA Summer Student

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