Project Webfoot 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 item for several years at the Ducks Unlimited (DU) fundraising dinner in October.
Now, however, the popularity of the program has caught everyone’s attention and since 2009, every school in School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) from Crawford Bay to Yahk has offered the program to Grade 4 students. Sponsors jockey for position to be the one who brings this educational program to the local students.
Sue Barnes, a Creston and district DU member, sponsored one of the Webfoot projects this past year and she chose her granddaughter Alyssa’s Grade 3/4 class at ARES. The school received program material, basically at the Grade 4 reading level, and the children received a very useful pocket guide to plant, animal, bird and reptile identification, as well as the Puddler magazine. This involvement from a young age encourages them to become stewards of the world famous Creston Valley Wildlife Management area.
Five years ago, Creston DU members took this project one step further and began a build your own birdhouse or feeder program at one valley school each year, as a culmination of the wetlands study. The wood was donated by the J.R. Huscroft sawmill and Ken Alexander, while the Plexiglas sheets for the bird feeders were supplied by Calgary’s PlexiPlus.
On June 21, six Creston DU chapter members arrived at ARES to help construct the birdhouses and bird feeders. Les Stevenson, as in years past, had all the material cut and sorted into kits so the children chose the one they wanted and construction began immediately. They used the covered lunch area as an outdoor classroom and each child proudly took their project home with them at the end of the day.
The Creston DU chapter is presently organizing for its annual dinner in October. If you are interested in fundraising for the wetlands and would like to be a part of this group, please give Gertie Brown a call at 250-428-7581.
— CRESTON DUCKS UNLIMITED