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.
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.
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.
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!
Through support from Evergreen (the Wal-Mart Evergreen Green Grant), we were able to replace our old platform and replace it with a new and improved one. This Outdoor Theatre was completed in May, 2009 and serves as a starting point for learning about and observing the different animals that occupy our wetland.
Our 2009 Spring Program recently came to an end, with the last classes visiting on June 3rd. Though a slight decline in visitors from the previous year, 56 visiting classes kept everyone busy, particularly the 105 wetheads who volunteered their time so soon before exams. Check out the pictures in our photo gallery. A huge thanks goes out to all those who helped out with the program (wetheads, teachers, community members, and University students).
With school coming to an end, TWC prepares for the summer with the hiring of 3 summer interns. The area needs much maintenance through the summer, along with research (purple loosestrife, water quality, and breeding birds), and the planning of a week-long summer camp. Drop by for a tour! (Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm).
In the April 20th, 2009 edition of MacLean’s Magazine, an article features the TWC’s Wetheads titled “Wetheads – ambassadors for marsh conservation”. This article is attached below, featuring quotes from former wethead, Brandon Hicks.
Survivor Wetlands (Spring Training Day) was held on Saturday, April 18th and was a huge success! There were about 60 participants (including Tantramar Regional High School students, teachers, and members of Ducks Unlimited Canada) and were divided into 4 teams: Corixidae (the Water Boatmen), Nepidae (the Water Scorpions), Gyrinidae (the Whirligig Beetles), and Dytiscidae (Predaceous Diving Beetles). After participating in 5 activities (Migration Headache, Wetland Benefits, Touch Boxes, Birding, and Critter Dipping), teams were ready for the final challenge, the Great Canoe Race! It was a close race, but in the end team Corixidae (pictured above) won the trophy.
A huge thank-you to all who participated and helped make this training day possible. Now students are trained and ready for the Spring Program visitors starting the first week in May.
Spring is one of the busiest seasons at TWC since it is the time of year when we deliver our “Wonders of Wetlands” program to approximatley 2000 Grade 4 students from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This program is delivered in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada under their “Project Webfoot” program, where they provide teachers with resource materials about wetlands and the opportunity to take their class on a wetland field trip.
In order to deliver this program TWC depends on the leadership of the Wetheads. Each year TWC holds a training day for the Spring Program (Survivor Wetlands) where Wetheads are split into teams (tribes) to learn the different activities. After much fun and good food, the winner of Survivor Wetlands is determined by the final challenge – the Great Canoe Race! Last year’s winners were the tribe Ardea, pictured above.
Another winter gone by, and with that, so has another Wetlands in Winter program. A training session for the Wetheads was held on January 13th and the program this year started on February 3rd and finished just recently, with our last class visit on March 20th, 2009. Just in time for spring to arrive! With the wonderful assistance of about
43 Wetheads, this program was successfully delivered to 703 visitors in 27 class visits. We had a few cold days, but for the most part the weather was cooperative. We had enough snow for everyone to use snowshoes and enough animals visiting the wetland to provide tracks for us to follow and identify.
In the upcoming weeks, the TWC and Wetheads are gearing up for the Spring Program (Project Webfoot) and the annual “Survivor Wetlands” Training Day. This training will be held on Saturday, April 18th. Stay tuned for the results from our challenge!
We are having a great summer at the Centre. In June we offered the local community an opportunity to “experience wetlands”. Participants learned about wetland birds, amphibians and some of the underwater inhabitants of the marsh. Our new butterfly garden is developing nicely and we now have coneflowers and black-eyed Susan’s in bloom. Our students have been continuing summer research activities, including loosestrife monitoring, examining water chemistry and surveying breeding bird populations. So come and visit us any time Monday-Friday 8:30 am to 4 pm. and we will gladly take you on a tour of the marsh!