There was a celebration at the Muddy Boots Outdoor Learning Centre in Florenceville on Sept. 26 in recognition of the town property becoming the 5th Wetlands Centre of Excellence in New Brunswick supported by Ducks Unlimited Canada.
Several students from local schools were on site for special activities, while Carleton North High School Principal Jason Smith and science teacher Philip Davis received a designation award from Ducks Unlimited Canada naming the school as a steward in the wetlands partnership. As a result, students from the high school will be involved in classifying and cataloguing flora and fauna at the site, education and conservation, nature exploration, and mentorship of younger students.
"There is a wonderful opportunity for students who began this work to carry it on in high school," Principal Jason Smith said. "They come full circle in their access to experiential learning."
The community-based partnership to educate and preserve the wetland began two years ago with Grade 4 students taking part in exciting and interesting field trips to the site to learn about the importance of wetlands and their conservation under Project Webfoot with Ducks Unlimited. Outdoor adventures included bird counts, critter dipping, wildlife observation, tree planting, leaf collecting, or care of the trees on the property.
"There is no better example of an outdoor classroom than here," said Florenceville Mayor Karl Curtis. "We are so proud of this site in our community."
The mayor encouraged the children in attendance to get their parents involved to further strengthen the community commitment to visit and preserve and protect the wetland.
Other speakers at the event included Darrell Turnbull, chair of the Muddy Boots committee, and Samantha Brewster, education specialist for Ducks Unlimited Canada.
Sponsorship and support for the wetland action project came from the McCain Foundation and the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund as well as Ducks Unlimited Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, other wildlife and people.
Shown in the photos below are (1) left to right: Samantha Brewster, education specialist for Ducks Unlimited, Carleton North High School science teacher Philip Davis and Principal Jason Smith with their designation award; (2) Charlotte Flores, education coordinator for the Falls Brook Centre, talking to Florenceville Elementary School students about nest boxes for birds living in wetlands.