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The Tantramar Wetlands Centre is a community-based centre of wetlands education specializing in experiential programming aimed at public school students and teachers. Recognized nationally as a centre of excellence, this award-winning project provides exciting wetlands education experiences to over 4,000 visitors annually.

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2013-2014 Teacher Workshops

Every year, the Tantramar Wetlands Centre facilitates teacher workshops to train B. Ed students and educators on environmental and wetland education. During the 2013-2014 academic year, we facilitated two of these workshops. We hosted students from Crandall University in November 2013 and travelled to Fredericton to do a workshop with St. Thomas University students in January 2014.

Facilitators introduced participants to the Project WET curriculum, which focuses on water, and shared resources, such as Resources for Rethinking. Workshops activities included H2O Olympic competition,  examining macroinvertebrates and learning about river ecosystems. Take a look at the photos below to see some educators having fun while learning.

Participants are introduced to the Project WET curriculum and to the wonders of water, with hands-on activities they can do with their classes.

Participants are introduced to the Project WET curriculum and to the wonders of water, with hands-on activities they can do with their classes.

H2O Olympics boat races

Students compete in the H2O Olympic “boat races” to learn about surface tension and water pollution.

 

Students learn about surface tension while competing in "pole vaulting".

Students learn about surface tension while competing in “pole vaulting”.

 

Participants each develop a riverfront property and learn how they impact others downstream through pollution.

Participants each develop a riverfront property and learn how they impact others downstream through pollution.

 

Discovering macroinvertebrates (a.k.a. "critters") while searching through vegetation samples from the TWC marsh.

Discovering macroinvertebrates (a.k.a. “critters”) while searching through vegetation samples from the Tantramar Wetlands Centre marsh.

 

The workshops always end with an H2O Olympics medal ceremony to honour the competitors.

The workshops always end with an H2O Olympics medal ceremony to honour the competitors.

 

GOMI Summer Conference 2013

The 2013 Annual Gulf of Maine Institute (GOMI) Summer Conference took place this past summer in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Youth and leaders from all around the Gulf of Maine congregated at Acadia University for a week of learning, inspiration and environmental stewardship.

GOMI Team

The students participated in various fun team-building activities.

 

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GOMI participants celebrated Canada Day at the Grand Pré UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The youth from different communities worked together on six different “theme teams” to learn about a specific topic and prepare a presentation to share their knowledge with the rest of the group. The 2013 theme teams were: Community Gardens, Sharing Your Story (through Photography), Climate Change, Salt Marsh Ecosystems, GOMI Ocean Drifters and Tidal Energy.

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Learning about sea level rise while standing on the dykes in Wolfville.

Throughout the week, the youth were asked to practice their public speaking by making short presentations about various topics related to community organizing and the environment.

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Salt Marsh Salad

The students also had the chance to share their talents in the Annual Talent Show. There were singers, dancers, storytellers, bubble makers, stand up comedy and more.

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Learning new dance moves.

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Washing off the youth that went mud sliding.

After the final presentations were made by the theme teams, each regional team was asked to come up with a set of goals to work on for the coming year. One of the goals chosen by the Tantramar Team was to start a compost program at Tantramar Regional High School. The students will launch the program on December 9, 2013.

Tantramar Team

The Tantramar GOMI Team is currently raising funds to attend the 2014 GOMI Summer Conference in Massachusetts.

Fall 2013: Wetlands Through Waterfowl

As the days continue to get shorter and colder, the Tantramar Wetlands Centre has finished its fall banding program and is preparing for winter. Every year, our wonderful Wethead volunteers and various visitors have the chance to participate in our educational waterfowl banding program.

Take a look at these photos to learn about the process, see pictures of ducks, and see how students experience wetlands through waterfowl.

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Wethead student volunteers learn how to identify ducks before putting their knowledge into practice in the marsh.

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Wetheads prepare to take canoes to the duck traps to bait the ducks with cracked corn.

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Each morning, students canoe out to the duck traps in the marsh. If ducks have been trapped, they retrieve the ducks and bring them to shore for banding. Then, students help bait the traps with cracked corn to attract more ducks.

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Canoes full of students and ducks return to shore. The ducks will be banded before being released back into the marsh.

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Wetheads gather on the banding platform to identify and band ducks.

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Male Mallard duck (easily identified by it’s emerald green head).

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When banding ducks, it’s necessary to identify the species. The two white bands on either side of the purple-blue patch (the speculum) indicate that this is a Mallard.

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The absence of the white bands on either side of the purple-blue speculum indicates that this is an American Black Duck.

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Our long-time volunteer, Nev, demonstrates how to put a band on a duck’s leg.

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Our Fall Co-op student, Katelynn, holding a Mallard while he waits to be banded.

Wethead student volunteer learning how to hold the duck before releasing it back into the wild.

Wethead student volunteer learning how to hold the duck before releasing it back into the wild.

Student volunteer prepares to release a Mallard.

Student volunteer prepares to release a Mallard.

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Visiting student successfully releases a duck back into the marsh.

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Wethead releasing a duck outside the Tantramar Wetland Centre.

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A visitor releases a banded duck on our final day of banding for 2013.

You can view more pictures in our Photo Gallery or on Flickr.

Summer 2013: Research at the TWC

In addition to occassional visitors and daily maintenance work, summer at the TWC involves a lot of research! Over the summer months, summer staff Brandon LeBlanc and Jake Richard, will help collect data and samples for multiple ongoing studies. Check out the pictures below to find out more about the various projects.

 

Jake Richard, Brandon LeBlanc and Megan Mitton (left to right) searching for evidence of galarucella beetles on the invasive flower species: purple loosestrife

Jake Richard, Brandon LeBlanc and Megan Mitton (left to right) searching for evidence of Galerucella beetles on the invasive species, the purple loosestrife. The beetles and their larvae help to control the population of this flower.

 

Galarucella beetles on the purple loosestrife plant. The shotholes in the leaves are evidence that this biocontrol is working.

Galarucella beetles on the purple loosestrife plant. The shotholes in the leaves are evidence that this biocontrol is working.

 

Brandon doing some water quality testing.

Brandon doing some water quality testing using the YSI meter.

A brood of Canada Geese. We record the broods of ducks and geese we see in the marsh. This year we've confirmed broods of mallards, green-winged teals, blue-winged teals, american wigeons and ring-necked ducks.

A brood of Canada Geese. We record the broods of ducks and geese we see in the marsh. This year we’ve confirmed broods of mallards, green-winged teals, blue-winged teals, american wigeons and ring-necked ducks.

Jake and Brandon collecting an aquatic invertebrate sample to find out what's living in the marsh.

Jake and Brandon collecting an aquatic invertebrate sample to find out what’s living in the marsh.

 

Sorting invertebrates by Order

Sorting invertebrates by Order

 

Sorting invertebrates by order. These damselfly nymphs belong to the order Odonata.

Sorting invertebrates by order. These damselfly nymphs belong to the order Odonata.

This dragonfly also belongs to the order Odonata. It climbed out of it's exuvia (larval skin) and rested on this flower before pumping up it's wings and flying for the first time.

 

You can view more pictures in our Photo Gallery or on Flickr.

 

A Look Back at the Past Year: Spring 2013

Spring is an exciting time at the Tantramar Wetlands Centre. As the ice melts and animals return and reappear, we start to measure time by which birds we see and how fast the ice is melting.

 

Tree swallow on a nesting box. Tree swallows let us know that spring has arrived.

Tree swallow on a nesting box. Tree swallows let us know that spring has arrived.

 

Spring is also a very busy time in the marsh. In preparation for our Spring Program, we trained dedicated Wetheads during their enrichment period, helping them become experts leaders for all of our activities. We also hosted the Ducks Unlimited Training Day to help prepare participants from other wetlands sites for the Project Webfoot spring program.

 

Wetheads learning about cattails during spring traning enrichment.

Wetheads learning about cattails in spring training during enrichment.

 

Ducks Unlimited Project Webfoot Training Day at TWC this spring.

 

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During May and June, over 60 Grade 4 classes visited the TWC  from around New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, mostly sponsored by Ducks Unlimited through Project Webfoot. Over 60 Wetheads lead these students through various fun activities and games that teach about the importance and biodiversity of wetlands, invertebrate and bird identification, and our relationship to our natural environment.

 

Students on the critter dipping dock searching for invertebrates and other critters in the marsh.

Students on the critter dipping dock searching for invertebrates and other critters in the marsh.

 

Students learning about what they found in the marsh while critter dipping, such as snails, leeches and dragonfly nymphs.

 

Students participate in a relay race while learning about the benefits of wetlands.

 

Students learning about biodiversity by playing touchboxes.

 

Students learning about duck populations, conservation and migration after playing Migration Headache.

Students learning about duck populations, conservation and migration after playing Migration Headache.

 

Wetheads assist students in using binoculars to see and identify various birds in the marsh.

Wetheads assist students in using binoculars to see and identify various birds in the marsh.

 

We always enjoy the annual visit from MASSIE students (Japanese university students participating in an exchange program at Mount Allison University). Even though it was too windy to canoe, we went bird watching and critter dipping.

 

MASSIE students critter dipping.

MASSIE students critter dipping in the marsh.

 

Japanese univeristy exchange students searching for insects in the water.

Japanese univeristy exchange students searching for insects in the water.

 

You can view more pictures in our Photo Gallery or on Flickr.

A Look Back at the Past Year: Winter 2012-13

Over 25 classes visited the Tantramar Wetlands Centre to participate in our Wetlands in Winter program this year. Through fun, hands-on activities, both indoors and outdoors, students learned about the local wildlife and the importance of our biodiverse wetland – even in winter!

Students gained useful skills like how to snowshoe and identify animals tracks in the snow. The classes also had the chance to see muskrat houses up close, learn about mammal skulls and watch volunteers drill a hole in the ice to see what’s living in the marsh during our coldest months.

Students trying to guess which animals the tracks belong to.

Students trying to guess which animals the tracks belong to.

 

Students identifying tracks and scat with the help of two Wetheads.

Students identifying tracks and scat with the help of two Wetheads.

 

Snowshoeing on a sunny day.

Snowshoeing on a sunny day.

 

Students excited to find bones in an owl pellet.

Students excited to find bones in an owl pellet.

 

A Wethead helping students identify invertebrates.

A Wethead helping students identify invertebrates.

 

Wethead helping two students and a teacher find macro-invertebrates.

Wethead helping two students and a teacher find macroinvertebrates.

 

You can view more pictures in our Photo Gallery or on Flickr.

A Look Back at the Past Year: Fall 2012

Every year, Nev Garrity, one of our very dedicated volunteers, helps lead many of our activities, including the Fall Banding Program, with the assistance of our enthusiastic high school student Wetheads (volunteers).

In the fall, Wetheads set-up and bait the traps, then return in their canoes to retrieve the ducks. The ducks are immediately identified (by species, age and sex), banded and released back into the marsh. 

 

Wetheads in the canoe, heading out to collect ducks from the trap.

Wetheads in the canoe, heading out to collect ducks from the trap.

 

Collecting the ducks from the trap can be tricky!

Collecting the ducks from the trap can be tricky!

 

Nev instructing Wetheads on how to identify ducks by looking at their wings.

Nev instructing Wetheads on how to identify ducks by looking at their wings.

 

Putting a band on the ducks leg helps us track their migration patterns.

Putting a band on the ducks leg helps track their migration patterns.

 

Identifying the ducks. Do you know what this is?

Identifying the ducks. Do you know what this is?

 

 

Student from a visiting class holding a duck, getting ready to release it back into the marsh.

Student from a visiting class holding a duck, getting ready to release it back into the marsh.

 

You can view more pictures in our Photo Gallery or on Flickr.

TWC Envirothon Team – the Wetheads

 From May 10-12, 2012, five Tantramar Regional High School students participated in their first NB Envirothon competition thanks to funding from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, in partnership with the Tantramar Wetlands Centre.  The Wetheads Team, comprised of (L-R) Adam Lerette, Dalton Lee, Catherine Evans, Christian Down, and Max Farella travelled to Fredericton, NB for the competition.  The annual Envirothon, hosted by the Canadian Forestry Association of New Brunswick, combines outdoor field-testing with in-class curriculum and allows students to learn skills that are not normally learned in a classroom setting.  Our students had alot of fun, and even took home a medal for their final presentation!  Though a few have graduated and are moving on this fall, the others look forward to training for next year.

Tantramar Wetlands Centre receives International Award

In early 2011, the Tantramar Wetlands Centre, in association with Tantramar Regional High School, was awarded top honors in the “Schools Promoting the Wise Use of Wetlands in the Americas” competition, hosted by the Ramsar Convention.  This award was established to recognize schools involved in the conservation of wetlands by promoting awareness-raising campaigns and activities for the student community about the important ecosystem services provided by wetlands.

Summer Wetlands Camp

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This was the first summer we hosted a 5-day Youth Wetlands Camp.  From July 27th -31st, 2009, local youth visited with us it the mornings to learn about value of wetland ecosystems and the many plants and animals that live here.  It was a busy week that entailed learning about: aquatic invertebrates, waterfowl identification, learning how to identify animals by their tracks and scat/signs they leave behind, learning about the interesting qualities of water through H2O Olympics, dissecting and examining owl pellets, building swallow boxes, building and putting out waterfowl loafing platforms, lots of canoeing, and even a trip to a bog!  This project/camp recieved funding from Environment Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program.

 Check out the pictures in our Photo Gallery, and be sure to sign up for more fun next summer!