The Wetlands Education Program was invited to the New Westminster Discovery Centre to share the wonders of wetlands with people attending the Artists on the River festival. While we did feature BCWF art cards, free colouring pages and art prints related to the event, our booth was one of the more popular ones with children, as they got their hands nice and mucky. They made model wetlands in tupperware containers using clay, soil, twigs, rocks and bits of vegetation. The children were asked to design their wetlands to attract different species such as fish, amphibians, mammals and waterfowl. They learned how clay holds water and how different wildlife require unique habitat features. We saw children build their swamps and ponds and streams for frogs, fish, ducks, turtles, predatory birds and weasels! A number of the children came back asking to build a second wetland.
Materials such as cat tails, a bog terrarium, jars with swamp water containing freshwater shrimp and other such creatures could be examined with magnifying glasses and identified with educational booklets. A few young boys were quite keen to do this. In fact, two had never seen a cat tail before and were quite excited to pull at it’s fluff!
Beyond the excitement of the younger generation, we were also successful in garnering support from several adults who were interested in programming, becoming stewards of wetlands and in collaborating on future projects. Overall the sunny day on the Quay was a hit and signaled a great interest not only in rivers, but also in their slower counterparts. Hooray for wetlands!