September Update!

The days are starting to get shorter and the air feels crisp as summer fades into fall.  Our 2015 summer season has come to an end and with that, we said farewell to our summer field crew as they head back to school.  We are incredibly grateful for the time they spent with us—as returning staff their experience and knowledge was invaluable.  Brittany, our Field Crew Supervisor, will be pursuing a B.Sc. in Environment and Natural Resources at UNB and Jerrica, our Field Crew Technician, is starting her second year at UPEI where she focuses on Biology and the environment.  We wish them the best in the upcoming school year!   Funding for their positions was made possible through Canada Summer Jobs, the Jobs for Youth Program, the Wildlife Conservation Fund, and the Watershed Management Fund.

The summer field season spans a total of 10 weeks.  Though this is a brief amount of time, our field crew was able to accomplish an incredible amount of restoration and enhancement work in our watershed this summer.  Over 800 tree and shrub species native to PEI were planted by staff and volunteers throughout the watershed, debris and blockages were cleared from several kilometers of our streams enabling fish passage, brush mats were built to trap sediment, Rackham’s Community Pond was maintained for public enjoyment, and several wood duck nesting boxes were placed along waterways in the Wheatley River and surrounding watersheds.  The 2015 Field Crew Report will be available on our website this fall for those of you interested in learning more about the work WRIG accomplished this summer.  This year we were able to work with the Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group throughout the season on various projects—their support and collaboration has enabled us to start new partnerships with the aquaculture industry, accomplish greater amounts of stream protection and enhancement, and to begin developing a water quality monitoring strategy that encompasses both watersheds.  We would like to thank them as well as all of our community members and landowners that have supported us and helped to further the stream enhancement and habitat protection work WRIG does throughout this summer season.

This year’s Celebrate Our River Festival and Duck Race took place on August 29th and was a great success!  We sold a grand total of 296 ducks for this year’s River Duck Race.  The Celebrate Our River Festival is an important event for WRIG. It is an opportunity for us to connect with the community that we are a part of and increase awareness of the work we do as a watershed group in the Wheatley River and surrounding waterways. We saw a lot of new and familiar faces at this year’s event which was excellent! Several families and individuals took the opportunity to become WRIG members which helps to ensure our success as a local environmental group. Funds from duck ticket purchases and the generous donations of those who attended the event make our stream enhancement and tree planting work possible and enable us to continue to make a positive impact in our community.  Community support is crucial to our group’s existence and we are extremely grateful to everyone who attended our Celebrate Our River Festival and annual River Duck Race!

We started off the fall by partnering with BBEMA and the Island Preserve Company to host an environmental education day for the grade 7 class from Summerside Intermediate School.  We will also be partnering with the Island Nature Trust and HCWG for a beach cleanup at the Barachois Beach on Saturday, October 10th as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.  Look for details on our Facebook page and website!

On October 25th at 2:00pm there will be a ceremony for the dedication of the Jack Hanley memorial bench placed at Rackham’s Pond.  Feel free to join us as we pay tribute to Jack, an extraordinary member of this community that touched many lives and played a key role in keeping Rackham’s Pond beautiful for the enjoyment of others.

Our newsletter will be coming out later this fall!  If you would like a digital copy of the newsletter or if you would like to be added to our mailing list, send your request to Kayla@wheatleyriver.ca. You can also learn more about us by following us on Facebook.