The Young Naturalists Club at Secord Wetland

FNN 1As a burgeoning Master Naturalist, I had the pleasure of volunteering at a Nature Alberta family nature night. These events are possible through a collaboration between Nature Alberta’s Young Naturalists Club, The Edmonton Science Outreach Network, and the City of Edmonton.

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Greg Boorman led my group, identifying the plants and animals we could expect to see in a wetland such as Secord.

We began at the playground at 217 Street and Secord Boulevard, which is adjacent to the wetland. The City of Edmonton describes the wetland as “a permanent water body that is sustained by inputs from the stormwater system via three sediment forebays that ensure the health of the wetland is not impacted by urban water sources. The upland area surrounding the wetland provides excellent habitat for a multitude of bird species and cover and food for many other animal groups, while the well-developed understory vegetation throughout the forested area provides further diversity. A formal trail along the southern portion of the natural area allows access through the upland area with views of the wetland.”

 

I led a group of children and their parents through a nature walk and scavenger hunt. We found wild raspberries, observed a bufflehead duck, and learned about plants and animals in wetland areas. Greg Boorman, Helene Itzeck and Ryan Harrington were our tour guides as we trekked the wilds of Secord.

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Can someone help me identify this pretty purple plant?

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I think this is a lacewing?

We then joined Amy Nixon and Elyse Williams of the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute to learn how wetlands filter water. The children ran through a maze as rain drops, collecting contaminates from city lawns and streets before being “cleaned up” by a wetland.

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A bufflehead duck alarmed by excited children.

The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute also has a photo contest. Enter your photos of Alberta species and landscapes to win one of two “Choose your own Adventure” Alberta Road Trip Prize Packs! For more information, check out their blog!

And Dr. Jeffrey Newton of the Alberta Science Network won hearts and minds with swimming insects! Note the boy in the black tank top who was a healthy step back. He was quite confident, he said, that he didn’t really like bugs. But he was in there like a dirty shirt once Jeffrey had him warmed up to his water bugs.

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Dr. Jeffrey and his samples were a highlight of the night.

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Squinting as they take a closer look. “I think it’s dead.”

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Turkey basters drew water up so we could deposit our smaller samples into white ice cube trays, where it was easier to see individual insects swimming around.

You can catch up on the YNC blog here http://naturealberta.ca/ync-summer-2014/. You’ll find information on how to get your family involved, as well as other Nature Alberta initiatives and family nature nights They’ve also got a blog post about this Secord wetland event here.

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