Snakes, Frogs, Beavers, Fish Habitat, Vegetation and Riparian Health – Brooklyn Neubeker
On November 2nd SEAWA held its second educational forum of 2018 at the Medicine Hat College, Medicine Hat. SEAWA hosts two free public educational forums a year, in the spring and fall, as part of its education and outreach program. The theme this fall was “Biodiversity of Riparian Areas in the SEAWA Watershed”. Seven speakers from across the province spoke about snakes in South East Alberta (Sandi Robertson), Northern Leopard frogs (Lea Randall), putting beavers to work (Holly Kinas), theimportance and propagation of native plants (Ken Wright), ecological issues of Russian Olive trees (Liana Pekrul), the rejuvenation of riparian woodlands (Stewart Rood), and the Fisheries Enhancement and Sustainability (FISHES) Program (Alicia Morin).
In addition, SEAWA’s executive director, Marilou Montemayor, presented a summary of SEAWA’s Aerial Assessment of Riparian Areas in the Seven Persons Creek Watershed and provided an update on SEAWA’s Riparian Areas Assessment and Restoration Project. Presentations are posted on the SEAWA website; please click on this link.
Fifty-eight people attended the forum, among those attendees were members of the public, Medicine Hat College students and instructors, City of Medicine Hat staff, members of the Grasslands Naturalists. Of those who attended, 67% responded to the event evaluation questionnaire. Of the respondents, 97% gained knowledge about the importance of riparian woodlands, 100% gained knowledge about the importance of native plants, 92% gained a greater appreciation of snakes, beavers, and frogs, 97% gained awareness of riparian conditions, and 97% are likely to attend future forums. Delighted guests left the following appreciative comments on the evaluations: “So well organized, such great speakers!”, “An excellent forum both in the varied topics and excellent speakers”, and “The only complaint we heard from our members was that speakers all could have been listened to longer!!”.
After the forum, Grasslands Naturalists led a nature walk around College Pond and in Kin Coulee Park. There were nine participants who took the chance to get a first hand look at what is growing around the riparian areas within the City, including Russian olive trees which were discussed during the forum.
SEAWA would like to give a big thank you to everyone who attended! SEAWA’s next forum will be in the Spring of 2019, and we would like to extend an invitation to everyone to come and learn more about our watershed.