Now that Victoria Day has come and gone, spring is officially here — and it certainly feels like it! The sunny weather is quickly turning Fredericton a lush green, and today — May 20 — is our last frost day. Time to turn our attention to our summer field projects.
First on the list is the constructed wetland at Devon Middle School. When I last wrote about the project we had installed the chain link fence and seeded the berms. Since then, we've had a nasty winter with lots of snow, but the site has held up well with little signs of erosion and retaining the water as designed.
Here's a photo from earlier this morning:
A quick glance into the water revealed that we already have a number of resident aquatic insects: water striders, water boatmen, and at least three families of water beetle, as well as the egg masses of some as yet unidentified organisms...
Summer will see us planting within the wetland with aquatic plants 'rescued' from the City of Fredericton's retention ponds — plants that would otherwise be dredged and composted — as well as on the berms and around the fence; we hope to make the plantings both a school and community event. Finally, the installation of a set of class benches and some student-designed interpretive signage will help complete this outdoor classroom resource.
Next is the creation of a low-impact interpretive nature trail at Garden Creek Elementary School. Unlike other schools where we are installing outdoor classrooms, Garden Creek Elementary School is fortunate to be adjacent to a piece of land that offers rich learning opportunities — including four distinct habitat types: forest, stream, grassland, and wetland — but the access is currently limited by steep slopes and lack of a defined trail. We plan to address this with the construction of a mulch/gravel trail and the installation of student-designed interpretive signage this summer.
Finally, later in the summer we'll be offering a weekend environmental education camp for Grade 6–7 students at Yoho Lake. We had originally planned to offer the camp last fall, but had to postpone it due to scheduling and funding constraints. Fingers crossed for this year!