On Tuesday afternoon, Ferry Island Campground was filled with curious children wading through the pond in search of bugs, snails and reptiles.
Thanks to the efforts of a pop-up nature-science event organized by the SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, children between the ages of five to 12 were treated to fun ecology lessons by Christine Slanz and her team of summer students, Casey and Ella.
The pop-up at Ferry Island was the third event among the summer series that took place at locations such as Furlong Bay and Skeena Valley Farmers Market.
The last nature-science event was held at the Terrace Visitor Centre on Aug. 26 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“Educating children about the ecosystem that they live in and understanding what’s in there and how everything is connected will help them become stewards for the future” said Slanz who is the education coordinator with SkeenaWild Conservation Trust.
“So the next time children come walking on the trail or see frogs, toads and salmon, they will have more care for the natural world around them,” she said.
Bugs were a big attraction at the Ferry Island pond for children, said Slanz and added that the team focused on aquatic macro invertebrate study.
“You can tell how healthy a stream or pond is by what kind of bugs you find there,” said Slanz who explained that the presence of caddisflies in places like Howe Creek indicates a healthy ecosystem.
The team had also set up a bug section near the pond where children brought back the bugs they found in the pond to the station. Water quality testing experiments with litmus papers, dissolved oxygen levels and turbidity testing (to determine the murkiness of the water) were also conducted on site.
Slanz who has been running science-based educative programs in the northwest since 2006 said that children enjoy these experiential learning programs.
”One of my favourite quotes I heard from one of the children when they were learning about the aquatic ecosystem was, ‘I didn’t know there was so much life in here,” she said.