Kids got their hands dirty, feet wet and minds opened to thinking like a watershed recently.
Eight Elk Valley 11 to 14 year olds planted 350 limber pines, contributed ideas to a wetland education plan for West Fernie wetland, contributed water quality data to the Elk River Alliance’s community-based water monitoring program, and painted and installed a rain barrel at the Eco Garden.
“Our watershed is like a giant bathtub. When water falls at the top of the rim or mountains it collects in the bottom and drains out the Elk River at Lake Koocanusa,” said Graham Bradish from Fernie. Students experienced first-hand human activities going on that affect watershed health and then they did something to help look after it.
Plenty of fun was mixed into the learning – hiking, canoeing, swimming, fossil hunting, fly fishing, rafting, and cycling. Science and math skills were honed reading a GPS, water quality testing, inventory of plants and animals, stream mapping to determine flow, compass and map navigation. The kids also got to see a moose and her two calves walking down Lizard Creek while everyone was learning about fly fishing.
“Because we were quiet and calm she walked right by, not even raising her hackles,” said Allie Dickhout, camp coordinator.
Several professionals – forester, biologist, geologist, ecologist, environmental manager, engineer, rafting guide and a master fly fisher met with the youth, introducing them to future career options, encouraging them to pursue math and science related jobs.
To register for the second camp next month, contact Lee-Anne Walker at the Elk River Alliance at 250-423-1682 or at firstname.lastname@example.org