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Pond Days 2022
AWC-WPAC, Events, and Friday Read | Outreach | June 2022

Aneilia Ayotte, Science Communications Coordinator

There is not much better than being outside in great weather, except learning about the watershed, outside in great weather! That is why pond days are so special. Pond days are a chance for kids to learn about diverse topics without being stuck at a desk. Not only is this true for the students, but also for the instructors. 

These special days are put on for the students by county members and are run by various groups. Pond days combine learning, with hands on science from catching macroinvertebrates to pH testing, and fish identification. The AWC (Athabasca Watershed Council) and many other WPAC’s come together to do these types of activities and many more, outside of the classroom! 

Over the past couple of weeks, I have personally been able to attend and instruct at 4 different pond days. One in Lac La Biche, one at Thunder Lake, one at Lac La Nonne and another at Chip Lake. Each of these pond days was unique due to the different students I met and because of the new groups I was introduced to. 

In Lac La Biche I learned more about Healthy Waters and their watershed stewardship goals, thanks to Brian Deheer. Thunder Lake and Lac La nonne were a blast because I got to meet groups like the Hunters and Trapper’s Association and Klondike Search and Rescue. Along with these groups, I was introduced to members of the county of Barrhead and many more. At Chip Lake, people from Yellowhead County volunteered and it was great to meet some unfamiliar faces. Along with that, Nathalie Olson, from Alberta Environment and Parks, invited us to help her run a benthic invertebrate station right on the shore of Chip Lake. Here, rather than speaking about the Athabasca Watershed as a whole, we focused more on benthic invertebrates and individual lake health. This was a great hands-on learning opportunity for the kids involved because we gave them nets and let them find benthic invertebrates along the shoreline.  

Overall, the different groups and the new topics I have been introduced to over the past two weeks have been great to learn more about. Along with that, seeing the kids so engaged in these activities brings a smile to my face because they get to learn in a whole new way! 

 Lac La Biche! We helped out with Brian Deheer on a watershed model demonstration for Healthy Waters in Lac La Biche.
Photo I took when driving through the Tawatinaw valley, near the Tawatinaw river which leads into the Athabasca river
Photo I took when driving through the Tawatinaw valley, near the Tawatinaw river which leads into the Athabasca river
Photo from Thunder Lake and the Hunters and Trappers Association.
Thunder Lake!  
Kids playing a wetland game at Thunder Lake.
Picture of the flashcards we used at the Benthic Invertebrate station at the Chip Lake pond day

Financial support from Alberta Conservation Association helped the AWC deliver our youth educational programs.