The Erickson Elementary School Grade 4 class built birdhouses as part of Ducks Unlimited Canada's Project Webfoot.

Erickson students build birdhouses with Ducks Unlimited’s Project Webfoot

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Project Webfoot, a Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) program, introduces young students and their teachers to the fascinating world of wetlands.

When Creston introduced this program in 2004, one school was chosen to offer it to their Grade 4 students. Gertie and Barry Brown were the first sponsors and Mason Brown’s Adam Robertson Elementary School Grade 4 class did the pilot project. The program was a success but funding was not forthcoming so it was actually an auction items for several years at the DUC fundraising dinner in October.

Now, however, the popularity of the program has caught everyone’s attention and since 2009, every school in the area from Crawford Bay to Yahk has the program and sponsors jockey for position to bring this educational program to the local students.

This sponsorship provides program materials for the classroom teachers and each student receives a very useful pocket guide to plant, animal, bird and reptile identification, as well as a subscription to the Puddler magazine. This involvement from a young age encourages children to become stewards of the world famous Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, which is right in their backyards.

Seven years ago, Creston DUC members decided to take Project Webfoot one step further and with lumber supplied by J.H. Huscroft Ltd. sawmill they made birdhouse and bird feeder kits. Each spring, one class is offered the chance to construct a woodwork project and Creston DUC members arrive with the kits and tools for an enjoyable afternoon in the classroom.

When the nuthatch, wrens, robins and swallows return to the Erickson area this spring, they will have 19 brand new homes to chose from. Students in Nicole Wood’s Grade 4 class at Erickson Elementary School recently spent an afternoon constructing birdhouses with assistance from members of the Creston DUC committee.

The wood for the project is still being donated by J.H Huscroft and this year the kits were assembled by Alan Chapman. The Columbia Brewery is this year’s sponsor for the Erickson school Webfoot program and Tanya Ducharme, an avid DUC supporter, came along to assist and see their sponsorship in action.

The Creston DUC chapter works toward one main fundraising event each year, the gala dinner and auction held in early October. If you are interested in fundraising for the wetlands and would like to be part of this group, call Gertie Brown at 250-428-7581.

—DUCKS UNLIMITED CANADA (Creston Chapter)

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