“This was the best adventure yet, Dad!”
That’s about the highest praise an event can get. So when 6-year old Jr Burlington excitedly made that claim as we drove away from Lowville Park at the end of Adventure #40, I knew that Trout Unlimited had created something special with their Bronte Creek Family Fun Day.
Going into this adventure, I thought it might include a few informal games played creekside. I didn’t expect the extensive variety of carefully planned activities that we enjoyed. We were presented with nine activity stations to visit — each focused on furthering appreciation of the Bronte Creek watershed in a fun way!
Trout Unlimited is an organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Canada’s freshwater ecosystems. Since 2009, one of the projects the group has focused on is the restoration of Bronte Creek.
It seems that Bronte Creek “has run a fever” and its aquatic inhabitants are suffering as a result. Trout Unlimited wants to bring this fever down by decreasing water temperature.
They have been working hard over the past few years to make this happen. Last year alone, the group restored over 1km of Bronte Creek at Lowville Park — this
is represents 2% of its total length!
In addition to many hands-on workdays, part of the solution is education; Bronte Creek Family Fun Days are a part of this.
At the registration table, we picked up our event passport from Stacey.
The passport had nine different stations for us to visit. The stations were:
- Fishy Escapades
- Wonderful Water’s Edge
- Amazing Aquatic Bugs
- Stream of Dreams
- Down the Drain
- Fantastic Fly Tying
- Crazy Casting
- Fabulous Fish
Our first stop was the Amazing Aquatic Bugs activity station hosted by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH).
Earlier in the day, the volunteers had collected a large variety of water bugs from the creek. Families were challenged to look at a chart and identify them. We spotted crayfish, a damselfly and an aquatic earthworm — that was enough to earn us a completion sticker!
When I saw Trout Unlimited’s mascot, Boomer the Bass, I had to take a family photo to share! After all, it’s not every day you see a walk-around fish.
The Down the Drain activity station was quite effective in getting its message across.
Kids were first asked to sprinkle a number of pretend contaminants over a three-dimensional rural scene. For example, brown candy sprinkles represented dog poop and dish soap represented detergents. Spray bottles were then handed out and “rain” showered the scene. This caused the land pollutants to flow into the streams and lakes — much to the dismay of the kids.
Crazy Casting was next. This was an opportunity to play fisherman by casting a line and catching a variety of fish species using magnets. Vic was very patient and helpful in showing how to use a fishing rod and teaching how to ID some of the fish. We learned how to identify bass and what the differences are between smallmouth and largemouth bass.
Have you ever passed a school yard and wondered what the painted fish on the fence are all about? Elizabeth Wren coordinates the Stream of Dreams program for Conservation Halton and she was there to tell us!
I could sense her passion for this project from the dynamic way she conveyed the story — even though she’s probably told it hundreds of times before.
After hearing the story of an eight year old girl’s mission to educate others on water protection, event-goers were invited to paint wooden “dream fish” for a Stream of Dreams mural to be installed at Courtcliffe Park in Carlisle.
Wonderful Water’s Edge was a new activity this year. It challenged participants to read questions about the animal inhabitants of the Bronte Creek watershed and search for answers posted on stakes along the edge of the creek.
After the first eight activities were complete, the time came to visit the last station where a long-awaited prize would be awarded. The boys played Plinko to determine what their prize would be. Baby Burlington won a knapsack and some temporary tattoos while Jr Burlington was lucky enough to land on a fishing rod package that also included a fishing hat and lures!
If you missed this Fun Day at Lowville Park, there is another one coming up this summer! Trout Unlimited Canada will host their final Bronte Creek Family Fun Day of the season at Courtcliffe Park in Carlisle (City of Hamilton) on Saturday, June 22nd from 11am to 3pm.