Sarah Boorne, wetlands education coordinator for the Tantramar Wetlands Centre, said they will offer a total of five different programs throughout the summer, which are aimed at combining science, research and games in a fun and educational atmosphere.
In addition to Boorne, two recent TRHS graduates, who both volunteered with the Tantramar Wetlands Centre during their time at the school, will help lead the programs.
Starting off the series on Monday, July 17, will be the junior ornithologist program. Participants will learn to identify a variety of birds, discover what an owl eats and enjoy some eco-games.
Next up, on Monday, July 24, the junior entomologist program will see participants study insects and learn what lies below the surface of the marsh water. A true highlight of this camp is critter dipping, which will see the kids use small nets to catch various marsh inhabitants. The specimens collected will be temporarily placed in a holding pond so the children and camp directors can discuss various things about the different species, such as what they eat.
Boorne said this is her personal favourite out of all the camps, mainly due to the popularity of critter dipping.
“That’s what the kids like the most,” she explained. “It’s nice to see their faces light up.”
She added that even those children who are a bit put off by the critters at first usually come around and become heavily involved in the activity by the end.
On Monday, July 31, the junior mammalogist program will see participants study the skulls and tracks of mammals, then help camp directors solve a wetlands mystery.
Next up, on Monday, Aug. 14, the junior botanist program will see participants explore plant biology using a microscope, build their own terrarium, which they can take home with them, and more.
On Monday, Aug. 21, the series will wrap up with the junior hydrologist program, where participants will conduct tests on the water in the marsh to determine if it’s a healthy habitat for all its inhabitants.
Each Monday’s program takes place from 12:30-3:30 p.m. and all are free.
In the event of rain during any of the programs, Boorne said they will move inside where the kids will be able to do crafts and other activities.
She said the purpose of the Marsh Mondays programs is to teach the young participants to care about the environment they live in.
“In general, the focus is to teach kids about conservation hands on . . . it definitely helps facilitate a sense of environmental stewardship.”
While the programs are mainly geared towards children aged 9-12, Boorne said an exception might be made if parents feel a younger sibling of one of the participants would also be interested.
She added that they are asking parents to pre-register their children but will not turn people away if they show up on the day of the camp.
To pre-register or for more information, contact Boorne at 506-364-4257 or by email at Sarah.Boorne@nbed.nb.ca. Additional information is also available on the Tantramar Wetlands Centre Facebook page.