A wave of programming in 2019
BY Christine Bowen
ON July 31, 2019
This spring was quite busy, a tidal waves of things happening here at BARC.  Since January, we have seen 165 classes, and give out 325+ mini marsh kits  reaching 11,500 participants. With various other school based education events including our new H2O forum (a high school conference we put on with Hamilton Port Authority),  and the Hamilton Children’s water festival  we have seen an additional 2, 400 participants.
Summer programming is going swimmingly! This year we partnered with both Hamilton Public Library and the Burlington Public library for their summer reading program.  This year’s reading program was all about nature, which fits in perfectly with us. We have been offering  our creepy crawlies and turtle crossing programs to local youth and their guardians. It’ is a ton of fun having parents and grandparents get just as excited about insects and turtles as the kids. This summer isn’t yet over and we have already offered 14 workshops! Workshops that were almost all full, and in such high demand that we had to book duplicate workshops!.
We faced a challenge with our volunteer marsh planting program this year. As you no doubt know, water levels are high this year. High water levels means planting is difficult , which was only exasperated by cattails being smaller then usual. In consultation with Royal Botanical Garden, we have decided to push our marsh plantings to September. (We hope to see you then!) This led to a new opportunity– doing invasive species pulls in the marsh. Manna Grass and Purple Loosestrife are not match for our mighty volunteers!  We still get to have a blast putting on hip waders and helping with restoration efforts.  Our work site, Hickory Bay has been fun to explore! Dragonflies, northern watersnakes and blue herons are just some of our visitors. We were also excited to see monkey flowers and bull rushes from last few year’s classroom mini marshes growing quite well. We are also excited as we are hoping that come September, we can do a planting event in that very same location as it is now clear!
Looking toward the fall,  it’s going to be another busy year. We have two stream of dreams (the painted fish that go on school fences), already booked : York view and Strathcona Elementary schools. If your interested in volunteering  in the art room with students or  helping hang the fish on the fence, please let us know!  We will be continuing educating about how important it is to protect clean water as Halton’s children's water festival and with the  upcoming introduction of  a new program all about our amazing amphibians. We are especially excited about having a new program as it will allow a potentially third visit into a classroom to build those student relationships and provide repetition, all of which will help students learn.
If you want to learn or help with our efforts, I encourage you to come to one of our events, check out our website and social media, send us an email, or event invite us to one of your events.  We love being part of this community that continues to learn as we work toward a sustainable future! 
Author Bio - Christine Bowen
Program Coordinator for Bay Area Restoration Council
Program Coordinator for Bay Area Restoration Council

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