Category Archives: Environmental Education

SRRCD Wins Bajkov Award May 8th, 2016

Posted in: Environmental Education General Livestock Programming Rain Gardens Tourond Creek Discovery Centre / Rosenthal Nature Park Trees Water Quality Testing Water Storage/Retention Watershed Moments Wells

Spirits were highSRRCD Award photo - Chris Randall- Jodi Goerzen- Cornie Goertzen- Alex Salki-Larry Bugera at Fort Whyte Alive as representatives of Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) Board of Directors and staff were honoured with the 2015 Alexander Bajkov Award. The award is given annually by the Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF) to people who have worked passionately to improve the health of Lake Winnipeg.

“The Seine-Rat River Conservation District exemplifies the community collaboration necessary to create meaningful change for Lake Winnipeg. Its board, staff, volunteers and the community members who participate in its many projects are dedicated to sustainable watershed stewardship – and not afraid to get their hands dirty. It’s a great example of grassroots cooperation in action” said Alexis Kanu, Lake Winnipeg Foundation’s Executive Director.

The Bajkov award is named in memory of pioneering fisheries biologist, Dr. Alexander Bajkov, and commemorates his contributions and dedication to the understanding of Lake Winnipeg. The award is usually presented to a single individual who demonstrates outstanding efforts to protect and restore the lake and its watershed. It was awarded this year to a group of dedicated individuals whose outstanding community efforts were recognized.

Since 2002, the SRRCD has promoted sustainable watershed stewardship in an area of southeast Manitoba with some of the largest nutrient loads flowing into the Red River and Lake Winnipeg.  Many of their programs are aimed at re-establishing natural ecosystem capacity to reduce the high nutrient loads.  The district’s efforts have led to involvement of new municipal partners, and improvements in municipal cooperation and relations.  The SRRCD began as one RM and now involves the Municipalities of La Broquerie, Ste. Anne, Hanover, Stuartburn, De Salaberry, Ritchot, Taché, Reynolds, Springfield, Montcalm, Emerson-Franklin, Piney, City of Steinbach, Town of Ste. Anne, Village of St-Pierre-Jolys, and Town of Niverville.

Alex Salki, Chair of the LWF Science Advisory Council, nominated the SRRCD for this year’s award, “The SRRCD has been involved in many special projects and partnerships including water storage, abandoned well sealing, rain gardens, willow-bioengineering for erosion control, grassed waterways, tree planting, environmental education, water quality testing in local rivers, watershed assessments, and integrated watershed management planning. It is a grassroots organization working hard from the bottom up to bring about important changes necessary to improve the health of Lake Winnipeg.”

Cornie Goertzen, Chair of the SRRCD Board of Directors, was all smiles as he graciously accepted the award on behalf of his beloved District. “The heart of our watershed initiatives are made up of grassroots experts who go the extra mile to build meaningful connections on the local level. While the wellbeing of our waterways are intrinsic to the health of Lake Winnipeg, our programs are strengthened through meaningful partnerships that have the potential to transform local initiatives into grassroots movements.”

The LWF is an environmental non-governmental organization working to restore and protect the health of Lake Winnipeg through research, public education, stewardship and collaboration. For more information about the LWF and its watershed initiatives, visit them online at www.lakewinnipegfoundation.org

The SRRCD is a grassroots conservation group dedicated to supporting and promoting the sustainable management of land and water resources in southeast Manitoba. www.srrcd.ca.

Alex Salki and Cornie Goertzen

Promoting Environmental Education for Students May 8th, 2015

Posted in: Environmental Education Watershed Moments

Meet Dorthea Grégoire

Dorthea Grégoire reaches into the critter pond at the Tourond Creek Discovery Centre. She is surrounded by grade six students from Steinbach. They squeal with excitement as Dorthea uses her hands to remove a water bug from her net. There is a huge grin on Dorthea’s face as she teaches the young students about the type of insect she is holding.

Dorthea is the Roseau Watershed Technician at the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD). She runs our field office in Vita and is well known for her enthusiasm and active involvement in her community. Dorthea is about to finish her PhD from the University of New Brunswick. She is an environmental expert who specializes in insect and plant interactions. You could spend hours listening to Dorthea tell you stories about her research adventures in the great forests of Acadia. Dorthea also has a tremendous heart for children and a passion for environmental education. You might spot her facilitating educational activities at places like the Tourond Creek Discovery Centre.

Tourond Creek Discovery Centre (TCDC)

The Tourond Creek Discovery Centre (TCDC) is an outdoor classroom used to host schools from the surrounding area. This old landfill has been transformed into a nature centre that is bursting with life. The TCDC is home to many different plant and animal species. Students can walk along the trails that connect several different ecosystems in the centre. A viewing tower overlooks the landscape, including a picnic shelter, dock, and shallow pond.

Students participate in hands-on learning activities, like “critter-dipping.” Critter-dipping is an activity that students participate in by catching insects in the shallow pond. Students use magnifying glasses to identify the different types of insect species that live in this ecosystem.

The TCDC is available for your school to use as a unique way to engage students in an outdoor setting. The TCDC website has plenty of resources for primary, middle, and secondary school teachers. These resources provide teachers with lesson guides and activities for fun, outdoor lessons. You can learn more by visiting the TCDC online at www.tourondcreekdiscovery.ca.

River Watch

The SRRCD has partnered with South Central Eco Institute to bring “River Watch” to local schools in our district. River Watch is a citizen-science program. It gives schools an opportunity to participate in water quality testing of their local waterways. Students are involved in all aspects of water quality testing. They help to collect and analyze the samples, as well as monitor water quality parameters such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and pH. The SRRCD provides on-the-ground-technical support to interested teachers. We will show the students how to conduct the different types of tests and help them understand what the results mean for their watershed. All the data collected through the River Watch program are entered online atwww.scecoinstitute.com.

Contact the SRRCD Today

You can learn more about how the SRRCD supports environmental education by contacting our office in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at www.srrcd.ca, or www.tourondcreekdiscovery.ca

Excited Children

The students at the TCDC are getting ready to go to their next activity station. They chase each other along the hiking trails as I follow behind. I stop by the critter-dipping station to visit Dorthea and to catch my breath for a moment. Dorthea enthusiastically tells me about all the different types of insects she saw in the pond. She pulls out one of her trusty field guides and eagerly flips through its glossy pages. She shows me pictures of various insects and tells me in great detail how each one is different from the others. Dorthea has a wonderful way of relating her extensive knowledge and experience. Her joyful personality gives me a sense of ease as I try to shepherd the energetic sixth graders from one activity to the next. I am thankful that the children are under the care of excellent teachers and facilitators who are passionate about promoting environmental education.