The wetlands behind W.L. McLeod Elementary school have been dug out and will be revamped to have a variety of flora and fauna and attract a variety of birds. (Aman Parhar photo)

Restoring the wetlands in Vanderhoof

The community is coming together to re-establish a healthy habitat at the W.L. McLeod wetlands in Vanderhoof, B.C.

The site has been recently dug up and grade 7 – 8 students from NVSS will use the site as an opportunity to develop skills to assess water health. They will also collaborate with peers, First Nations and Vanderhoof community members t0 engage in the ongoing ecological stewardship.

The project is being spearheaded by Patty Borek, teacher at NVSS and the Wayne Salewski, chair of the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative group.

Students will learn about soil, flora and fauna, birds, insects and more, which will prepare them for further work when they go to 9th grade as participants of the ‘Koh’ learning in our watersheds project.

READ MORE: ‘Koh’ learning in our Watersheds: SD91 pilot project

SD91 launched the Koh learning project as a pilot, to help students become stewards of the Nechako watershed.

Borek told the Omineca Express that getting youth out of the classroom and engaged with their environment is a great way to increase curiosity and a good learning experience.

“The wetlands are right across the street from us, so teachers can see if the weather is good and off you go. Students learn a lot by practicing science, learning how to use equipment, analyze stuff before they get into the real meat of the stream monitoring program,” she said.

The stream monitoring program was established two years ago as a collaborative pilot project between UNBC, SD91 and the Nechako Environment and Water Stewardship Society (NEWSS).

Salewski, also a board member of NEWSS, said re-establishing the wetlands will involve hydration, planting indigenous plant species, construction to promote bird and amphibian habitat. As a result, students and community members work collaboratively to engage in the ongoing support of land, water and air health.

“In the past, the wetland would hydrate nicely with spring thaws and freshets,” he said, noting that the drought Vanderhoof has had for the past three years is turning the wetland into a grassland.

“So we are losing the bird species that are here and the opportunities for education,” Salewski added. Restoring the wetlands to a healthier habitat will attract unique birds, ducks as well, he said.

The NVSS project is supported by the Centurra Mines legacy fund and by local businesses such as M4 Enterprises Ltd.

Wetlands play an important role in the ecosystem. “People may not realise that, but portion of the stream from the storm drain comes through here.”

“Roads collect a lot of impurities, salt and carbon and it gets flushed away,” Salewski explained. “When it enters into a wetland it gets filtered out of the system into the river. Wetlands have multiple functions.”

The project will be ongoing and Borek said students will be studying the wetlands a long time to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Borek said an NVSS teacher, Doug Rash, studied Soil at university and has been intrigued with what he found at the wetlands.

“So he was out here digging and was very excited about what he was finding. And that is a whole different aspect to study,” she said.

Making students stewards of their environment is very important to Borek and she puts it very simply.

“This is your river valley, your home, your wetland. Lets value it, be stewards of it. It is our home.”


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Wayne Salewski, left, stands with Patty Borek at the site of the W.L. McLeod wetlands. (Aman Parhar photo)

Just Posted

Cathy Malo, owner of Bird On A Wire Telus Koodo. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Bird On A Wire: Covering all your cellular, electronic and stationery needs

As a part of small business week, we are featuring local Vanderhoof businesses

Vanderhoof RCMP are seeking witnesses who may have seen a black, 2018 Chevrolet Silverado pickup (similar to the one pictured) with an Alberta licence plate travelling west on Highway 16 towards Vanderhoof prior to a fatal rollover on Sept. 26 at around 6:30 p.m. (Photo submitted)
RCMP seek witnesses in fatal September crash on Highway 16 near Vanderhoof

RCMP are continuing its investigation on a single-vehicle, fatal crash that took… Continue reading

The Prince George RCMP is asking for the public’s help to find 29-year-old Colin Michaud Durrand. He has a history of violence and is considered to pose an increased risk to public safety, according to police, who advise the public not to confront Durrand if he is located. (Photo Submitted by RCMP)
Prince George RCMP ask for help locating violent ‘priority offender’ with ties to Quesnel

RCMP says Colin Michaud Durrand, 29, recently lived in Quesnel but may frequent Hixon, Prince George

The Dupras family has been regulars at the Babine River and have seen plentiful grizzlies over the years. (Jay Dupras photo/Lakes District News)
A family’s close encounter with a grizzly on Babine River bridge

Photo-enthusiasts let the bear access the bridge for photos putting others at risk

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
B.C. records first COVID-19 outbreak at school, six weeks after students return to class

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Local candidates Pam Alexis, Abbotsford-Mission, and Preet Rai, Abbotsford-West, look on as NDP Leader John Horgan main streets in Abbotsford, B.C., Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. NDP takes snap election risk during pandemic in quest for majority government

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the election was unnecessary and irresponsible during the pandemic

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, B.C., on October 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Liberal Leader maintains confidence as campaign tests party identity

Liberal campaign has been disrupted by controversy

Most Read