QUBS Environmental Outreach is Growing!

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QUBS Environmental Outreach is Growing!

Securing funding and personnel to support our environmental outreach programs has been an ongoing challenge for QUBS, more so as visitation to the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre (ELEEC) continues to grow beyond the capabilities of its only full-time staff.  Things are changing, however:  With financial support from several independent sources, QUBS’ environmental outreach offerings and programs are set to expand significantly over the next several years.  Visit often, and check out our new self-use facilities and staff-led educational programs as they become available, or get involved as a volunteer with one of our projects.

Invasive Species Project

Last spring, on behalf of the Frontenac Stewardship Foundation (FSF), Elbow Lake Manager Carolyn Bonta accepted $7,430 from the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area to support invasive species eradication efforts across the broader landscape of the Frontenac Arch through 2016, building on last year’s efforts to enhance public education on this topic.  The Invasive Species project funds a project manager to work with trained volunteers to carry out invasive species management and outreach through hands-on work bees, educational programming for schools, and public events; it will also establish the Elbow Lake property as a demonstration site for invasive species management.

On April 10, we trained a team of volunteers in the safe handling and use of chainsaws at a day-long workshop instructed by members of the Ontario Woodlot Association.  The crew is now ready to take on invasive species eradication – including the safe management of trees infected by the Emerald Ash Borer – across the Frontenac Arch Natural Area.  Although the Elbow Lake property has remained relatively unscathed from invasive species infestation, there is still lots to be done:  From cutting seed heads off Phragmites, to pulling garlic mustard and periwinkle, cutting buckthorn and removing lilac, we would be grateful for all the hands we can get!

High School Outreach and Self-Guided Environmental Education

In January, the ELEEC was awarded $11,800 from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) toward a 4-month, part-time Environmental Outreach Assistant position, as well as supporting educational materials and research equipment.  Partnering with FSF and Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), we pooled salary dollars to hire Jordan Bell, a Master of Resource & Environmental Management program graduate, to lead the Invasive Species project, assist with QUBS’ high school outreach programs, and assist with land stewardship for NCC.  Sofie Hemprich, our Outreach & Stewardship Intern, will lead the development of two TD-funded self-guided exploration stations at the ELEEC: One on beaver pond ecology at the Red Trail footbridge, and another on identifying native coniferous trees. We are also looking forward to purchasing a digital microscope, along with the necessary audio-visual equipment to project its images to our visiting secondary students this fall.   TD FEF previously funded our Educational Trails Project at ELEEC, including the Elbow Lake Trail Guide interpretive app developed by David Lougheed in 2014; the current project brings David back this summer to update the app with new information and more interpretive stations to keep you abreast of the latest research, natural history discoveries and unique characteristics of the Elbow Lake property. 

New Partnerships for QUBS Outreach

The greatest positive impacts to QUBS outreach will arise through an upcoming four-year Outreach & Teaching Coordinator position, funded primarily by the Lawson Foundation, with support from Queen’s University.  This full-time staff will lead QUBS outreach, with significant emphasis on broadening the geographic and demographic reach of our programs by increasing opportunities for youth, primarily low income or underprivileged citizens, offering low cost environmental education to new Canadians and immigrant families, partnering with Aboriginal groups to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge, and expand our popular Eco-Adventure Camp.  Exciting times are upon us for sure!

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