A new tradition for Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and River Stewards has begun. This year was the very first year the stewards went to Harborfest, and with this year's success we hope to be in attendance in the future. We fine-tuned our wetland demonstration from the Oswego County Fair to help younger children understand what exactly a wetland is, and why they should care about them. A model wetland was constructed using, amongst other things, large sponges and fake vegetation. Children were then asked to pour dirty water over the "wetland" and watch as the wetland seemed to magically filter the water; the dirt was stopped by the sponges and the water that ran through our model wetland was clear. The children were amazed by the result and began to see "those swampy things" (as wetlands are sometimes referred to) as important and relevant to their own lives. For those too young to understand the activity, stewards created a display depicting wetlands wildlife. Both younger and older kids went wild for the wetlands wildlife display! Once the kids recognized an animal, they were eager to share their many animal-related stories (and we were eager to hear them).
Not only were the kids learning, but their were parents too! There was a table set up just brimming with informational literature, covering subjects from the emerald ash borer and the fish disease VHSv to maps of the Salmon River. Over the course of the three days the stewards were in attendance, we talked to hundreds of people and informed a lot of members of the community about many of the local natural resources, including wetlands.
Stacy (pictured above) reviews the wetlands display with a youngster at Harborfest. Photo by Salmon River Steward, Emily Freeman.
A structure found at Lakeview WMA. Photo by Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward, Paul Dawson.
Only July 27th, River Stewards Jim Katz and Emily Freeman held a Salmon River Falls tour for twenty kids aged 6-12. They educated them about the historical uses of the Falls, how the Salmon River is used for hydropower, why it is important to protect such a unique area, and what types of animals and plants they could find there. The kids were really into it, they especially loved getting to the riverbed and being able to go on a search for frogs, fish, crayfish, or anything else they could see. They were asking all types of questions (What kind of bug is this? What kind of flower is this? Why is there graffiti?), and seemed to retain a lot of the information, particularly the information about why we need to protect these areas, and what they can do to help. One of the stewards most important jobs is to educate, both children and adults, how to responsibly use the natural resources around them.
At the Salmon River Reservoir River Steward Jim Katz encountered a family from Baldwinsville, NY enjoying a picnic together. The family decided to take the day to enjoy the Salmon River Reservoir while riding motorcycles in the area. Ospreys, fish hunting birds of prey, were out and very active that day.
Osprey in flight. Photo by Salmon River Steward, Jim Katz.