June 8, 2022
By Chris Drost
Despite some untimely showers, the Bancroft Area Stewardship Council’s Wonders of Wetlands Day at Joy Bible Camp on June 1 was a huge success, with approximately 300 Grade 3 students from across the region attending.
Event organizer, BASC Director Colleen Drew-Baehre said it was the largest group they’ve ever had. Students came from as far away as Apsley and Whitney.
BASC’s mandate is to provide educational opportunities for the public to learn about the environment. That’s exactly what Wetland Wonders Day does. With approximately 20 different educational stations, students learned everything from bugs in mud to how trees prevent runoff into lakes, and more. .
Volunteers were present at each of the stations to help the children with activities that further explained the learning opportunity. Some were BASC volunteers, or family members, while North Hastings High School NERDS and representatives from other organizations participated.
Dan Rapson of the Bancroft Retriever Club was on hand with two adult retrievers and a very small puppy named Winnie. As he demonstrated how to train a fetch dog, a large group of students watched with great enthusiasm, “The kids are really enjoying the day. The table with the insects and the dogs seems to be the favourite,” said Apsley parent volunteer Kathleen Walker. His son Emmerson agreed. “My favorite is puppies,” he said.
Some of the other activity stations included one where students learned that trees can help prevent unwanted runoff into a lake. By throwing balls into a diorama with trees, they could see firsthand how the trees prevented the balls from sinking into the lake.
At the bug-in-the-mud table, eager students peered through magnifying glasses to spot the tiny insects in a dish filled with muddy water.
Ian Hendry, President of BASC, used a turtle and snake exhibit to share information about turtle longevity and the importance of protecting them. The students had lots of questions for Hendry as the children shared stories of their encounters with injured turtles.
Robert Craftchick, director of BASC and Algonquin negotiating representative for Whitney and area, had students very interested in learning about the different species of animal skins that were on display.
“The children are enjoying the day. There are lots of activities and things to see and do,” said Diana Sheridan, who was a substitute for the day at Maynooth Public School.
Wetland Wonders Day is usually held every two years. Due to COVID-19, it has been on hiatus since 2018 since being canceled in 2020. Drew-Baehre was very happy that things aligned with schools by allowing field trips again and that the event was able to proceed as planned. The day could not have happened without all the volunteers, Joy Bible Camp, support from BASC, donations from the Town of Bancroft, Hastings Highlands, South Algonquin and the Baptiste Lake Association. Robert Craftchick and Doug Wellman stepped in to pay for bus transportation from Whitney and Apsley respectively.