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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.