Wildflower students adopt Duck Bay

Students plant shrubs, unveil a new sign and participate in scientific study

Wildflower students Trey Philips and Arlo Henderson were planting shrubs on the banks of Duck Bay

If you live in Nelson, chances are you’ve walked by it countless times without even realizing it’s called Duck Bay.

It’s that pretty inlet between the Lakeside soccer fields and Chahko Mika Mall, not far from where Obsidian the derelict pirate ship lays half-sunk and kayakers weave through bobbing sailboats on sunny days. There’s Denis Kleine’s Osprey and Nest bronze sculpture fixed atop a pole jutting out of the water, and marshy wetland at the base of its rocky beach.

And as of last Thursday there’s now an educational welcome sign created by Wildflower students that celebrates the area’s ecological significance, and plenty of new plant life along the shoreline.

Judging by the frequency of avian visits to the area, it’s aptly named.

The sign’s unveiling coincided with an ambitious restoration project that saw kids planting four species and 22 native plants alongside representatives from Wildsight, Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society and Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society as part of the Know Your Watershed program.

“The program, administered and delivered by Wildsight, supports students in learning where their water comes from, how it is used and affected as it moves through their community, and what happens to it after they have used it,” Kat McGlynn told the Star.

“Through classroom visits and a full-day field trip, students develop an understanding of what a watershed is, and how we are all connected by water in the Columbia Basin.”

As part of the program, the kids were asked to come up with an action project. They chose Duck Bay. They’ve also come up with an ongoing scientific study of water runoff.

During the excursion the students were accompanied by Claire de la Salle and Raegan Mallinsen, who both offered expertise on efforts to monitor and conserve water quality in Kootenay Lake. They emphasized the value of wetlands that provide habitat for many important species of flora and fauna.

The permanent sign was created with the assistance of local artist and graphic designer Catherine McIntosh. It includes wetland information that was researched, written and edited by students.

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