SSWA South Shore Watershed Association
Enhancement of Public Educational Areas for Wildlife Protection
In 2018, the South Shore Watershed Association received funding through the Wildlife Conservation Fund. These funds were invested in the Westmoreland River Nature Park at Stordy’s Pond, youth education events, and staff support.
The goals of this project were to improve public access and install infrastructure in our natural areas to protect habitat, promote public awareness and concern for local watershed and wildlife issues, enhance our pollinator garden, stabilize pond banks to prevent upland contaminants access to the water, enhance food sources and nesting sites for birds, small mammals and pollinator species, educate our youth through recreational activities and observing how we are supplying wildlife with food opportunities, in order to learn the value wildlife plays in their lives and how their actions can adversely affect ecosystems, provide nest boxes for tree swallows and kestrel species, and educate youth on the value of these raptors.
Westmoreland River Nature Park walking paths were widened, leveled, mulched and seeded to improve public access for limited-mobility visitors and families with young children. The parking lot and ditch was redesigned with the help of the PEI Department of Transportation to prevent sediment run-off into the river and improve public safety. Three barrier- free lookouts were installed to protect habitat from public disruption, and to promote public awareness by allowing small children to safely view fish passing though the fish passage. 96 pollinator-friendly shrubs were planted in our garden to stabilize banks, provide pollinator and bird food sources, and nesting sites for birds and small mammals. Fish and bird events were held which educated youth through hands-on experience. During the fish event, children from K – grade 6 helped smelt proceed upstream past a velocity blockage, and were instructed on how to identify smelt and the species of animals who depend on smelt in their diet. During the bird events, younger children constructed and adopted 30 swallow nest boxes, while older students were educated on raptors, and constructed and installed 9 kestrel boxes in partnership with 4-H. The students also received hands-on falcon experience with Island Falconry Services.
The main focus of our project was to provide a safe place for public education, particularly educating our youth. This stems from the philosophy that people only protect what they love, and love only what they understand. By educating our youth and protecting our environment, we will provide benefits to wildlife now and for future generations.