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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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Goodbye Fall, Hello Winter….and Cold and Snow!

Fall 2014- First snow fal (4)

The first day of winter is soon approaching! We’ve already said our goodbyes to our migrating duck friends here at the Tantramar Wetlands Centre. Some are long gone, wishing to avoid the cold, while others lagged behind to fill up on as much available food as they could find. When the marsh freezes over they no longer have access to this food and move on. Some ducks, such as the American Black Duck, may hang around the area but move to the coast line to find open water. Perhaps you’ll see them along the coast of Nova Scotia this winter! Others have a little farther to travel. Here is some interesting insight into where our Tantramar Marsh ducks may spend their winters:

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Blue-winged Teal- These small dabblers are not a fan of cold weather and are likely the first to leave. Our Atlantic Blue-winged teals have been found along the coast of Florida to its southern most tip as well as other stops along the Gulf Coast. They will also spend their winters in the Caribbean and South America. Blue-winged Teals travel the farthest south out of all North American waterfowl species. We were fortunate to observe three broods of Blue-winged Teal in our marsh this summer.

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American Wigeon – These ducks will winter along the coast from Cape Cod South to North Carolina. Some will migrate a little farther and have been found in South Carolina and Florida. A brood of seven American Wigeon ducklings called the Tantramar Wetlands their home this year.

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Gadwall- We had at least one pair of Gadwall nest in the Tantramar marsh this spring. These ducks may be wintering all along the Eastern Seaboard down to the North Carolina and South Carolina boarder. They also like to spend their winters along the Gulf Coast.

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Ring-necked Duck- Our local diving duck seems to favor Florida in the winter. They’re known to travel farther inland than most of the other species of ducks mentioned. This spring and summer we had seven broods hatch in our marsh.

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Mallard- Our green headed friends may only need to travel as far as New Jersey to find wintering grounds. They can, however, be found along the Atlantic coast anywhere in the upper half of the United States. Five pair of Mallards were nesting in our marsh this spring.

Wherever our Tantramar Marsh ducks are this winter we’ll be patiently awaiting their return. In the mean time we are gearing up for our winter program here at the Tantramar Wetlands Centre. We are looking forward to donning our snowshoes and heading out on the marsh to look for signs of life. We know that even in the winter wetlands are alive!

2014 GOMI Summer Conference a Success!

The 2014 Gulf of Maine Institute (GOMI) Summer Conference was a success! Read about the experience on the Sackville Tribune Post website:

http://www.sackvilletribunepost.com/Living/2014-07-30/article-3818414/Tantramar-Wetlands-Centre-students-attend-annual-Gulf-of-Maine-Institute-summer-workshop/1

Our Tantramar Team! Left to right: Ben Hicks, Alexandra Duchemin, Max Farella, Sarah Stewart, Liam Stewart

Our Tantramar Team! Left to right: Ben Hicks, Alexandra Duchemin, Max Farella, Sarah Stewart, Liam Stewart

The annual group picture.

The annual group picture.

Liam Stewart leaving a personal touch during his project for the Drifters Group

Liam Stewart leaving a personal touch during his project for the Drifters Group

 

The GOMI conference is a great opportunity for students to meet other youth interested in environmental stewardship.

The GOMI conference is a great opportunity for students to meet other youth interested in environmental stewardship.

 

 

On the road to Massachusetts! 2014 GOMI Summer Conference

Five Tantramar Regional High School students/Wethead volunteers will leaving tomorrow and travelling to Massachusetts to represent the Tantramar Wetlands Centre at the 2014 Gulf of Maine Institute (GOMI) Summer Conference! During the week, you’ll be able to see updates from the conference on the GOMI website.

 

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Click here to see photos from the 2013 GOMI Conference that was held in Wolfville, NS.

 

Milestone: 100,000 students participate in Project Webfoot in New Brunwick

The Tantramar Wetlands Centre (TWC) helped Ducks Unlimited Canada celebrate an impressive milestone this spring! In May 2014, we hosted the 100,000th New Brunswick student to participate in Project Webfoot since the program began in 1996.

The TWC is one of several partners that delivers the Project Webfoot program, a co-curricular program developed to compliment New Brunswick’s Grade 4 curriculum on habitat. The TWC on its own has delivered wetland education programs to just under 60,000 visitors since opening our doors in 1998 from our location in Sackville, NB.

The Wetlands Centre’s critter dipping dock and our own Max Farella were on Global News (click here to watch the video).  Max and Sarah Stewart have been representing the TWC for this project Webfoot program since they participated when in grade 4 and are now deliver the program as high school students.  Check out the pictures below to see the celebration and Project Webfoot in action!

 

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Our dedicated helpers, Mark and Ryan, made the front page of the Sackville Tribune Post!

 

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Complimentary cake to celebrate 100,000 NB students… and counting!

 

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Ducks Unlimited Canada (temporary) tattoos were sported by many during the celebration!

 

Wetlands Rock Birding Spring 2014

Beginner Birder: many students have the opportunity to use binoculars for the first time!

 

Spring 2014 Wetland Benefits Game

Wetland Benefits: a fun relay race that teaches students about what makes wetlands so valuable!

 

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Critter Dipping: searching for aquatic macroinvertebrates (aka insects in the water) with a net and bucket.

 

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Migration Headache: an exciting game in which students can be active while learning about duck migration and habitat.

 

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

A Long Winter in the Wetlands

The winter seems to have spilled into spring this year. Despite the cold weather, our winter program is long gone and we are well into our spring program. The weather is often unpredictable and varied on the Tantramar Marshes and this winter was no exception. This makes planning ahead for winter visitors a challenging endeavour!

This year we welcomed more than 25 classes to the Tantramar Wetlands Centre to participate in the Wetlands in Winter program. Visitors have the opportunity to learn how to identify the skulls, tracks and “scat” (droppings) of wetland animals, explore what is living under the ice, and take a walk using snowshoes to take in the beauty of the snow-covered marsh.

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Wetheads being trained to identify mammal skulls.

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Showing students the size of a polar bear skull in comparison to the local black bear.

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Snowshoeing towards the marsh while identifying tracks in the snow along the way.

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Drilling a hole in the ice to collect a sample. This helps show students that there is life in the marsh, even in the winter!

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The MASSIE students visited the Wetlands Centre and tried using snowshoes.

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Looking through the samples from under the ice, students find lots of macroinvertebrates living in the marsh!

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Searching for macroinvertebrates.

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Examining critters (like this leech) on the big screen.

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Some of the many wonderful Wethead volunteers that helped with our winter program. (Watch out for that black bear!)

Two Canada geese on the frozen marsh on April 14, 2014.

Two Canada geese on the frozen marsh on April 14, 2014. A very long winter indeed.

 

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

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.

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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.