Editor: Volunteers from the South Shore Watershed Association, a regional organization encompassing five watershed areas in southern Queens County, recently had the fun of helping teachers from Englewood School in Crapaud to shepherd dozens of Kindergarten to Grade 6 students at the annual ‘Kiss A Fish’ event. This popular spring activity at the time of the smelt-spawning run brings children and real live fish together for an up-close-and-personal experience with nature.
The event is led by biologists Daryl Guignion and Rosie MacFarlane who bring buckets of smelts out of the river downstream from the impassable barrier under the Old Mill bridge, and show the kids how to tell boy smelts from girl smelts and how to handle them carefully. Then the kids get to kiss a fish before releasing them upriver where they can move on to spawn successfully.
We want to commend Guignion, MacFarlane and their assistants for making this terrific educational opportunity for young students happen. But more than that, we want to congratulate all the Englewood students for their responsible behaviour with regard to garbage. Delicious, creative snacks provided by Rosie were served in the gazebo in the village park, but there was no central garbage bin so students had to find a grown-up who was carrying a shopping bag for that purpose. When everyone had gone back to school, we could not find a single piece of garbage lying around that area. This means that each student took the trouble to find someone to give their garbage to, and in fact one or two students found and brought in other garbage as well.
We have high hopes for the future of our parks, and indeed our watershed ecosystems, when children as young as Kindergarten clearly understand that the health of the environment depends on each one of us. They are setting an admirable example for grown-ups to follow.
Dina Blot, Daphne Davey,
Co-chairs, Westmoreland River Watershed Group