Come spring and summer AsRA’s River Steward Nicole will be out and about in the Ausable River watershed, providing education and outreach to residents and visitors at various events. This list is a look back at 2017 events the river steward attended. Keep a look out for Nicole at these various events in 2018!
1. KCS Science Slam
The Keene Central School Super Scientific Science Slam held on March 9, 2017 is an annual science fair that showcases student projects and invites outside organizations to participate. In 2017, Nicole developed a board game that let participants imagine they were a Brook Trout trying to swim upstream to cooler headwaters. Along the way they encountered challenges that impeded their journey such as undersized culverts or high water temperatures, or they got an extra boost from a newly replaced culvert or good riparian cover. The Brook Trout board game highlights many of AsRA’s programs in a fun and educational way, and we hope to develop the game further in 2018. Nicole will be attending the Science Slam again this year on March 8th.
Nicole developed and introduced the Brook Trout board game to KCS Science Slam participants.
2. Riparian Tree Plantings
After stream channel restoration and culvert replacement projects, AsRA plants native trees and shrubs to help establish important riparian buffers. In spring 2017, adult volunteers and Northwood School LEAP students helped plant 150 plants at the Rocky Branch channel restoration in Jay and the culvert replacement on Otis Brook in Upper Jay. In the fall, AsRA staff and Paul Smiths College students planted 96 plants at the Rocky Branch Tributary culvert replacement in Jay and the stream channel restoration on Haselton Road in Wilmington. Community tree plantings are in the works for 2018 so be sure to check back to our events page or our Facebook page for updates!
Paul Smiths students planting willow and dogwood on the lower bench of the Haselton Road restoration.
3. Public and AsRA Events
Nicole also attended several public events, including the Great Adirondack Trail Run, Essex County Fair, Festival of Colors, and Keene Valley Farmer’s Markets. She also provided invasive species education at AsRA’s Ride for the River. At these events she had conversations about AsRA’s program work including stream channel restorations, culvert replacements, water quality monitoring, and invasive species spread management. She also brought the Brook Trout board game to help highlight these programs to kids of all ages. Be sure to stop by and say hello if you attend any of these events this year.
Nicole attending the Festival of Colors in Wilmington with AsRA’s new tablecloth, runner, and banner.
4. Ausable River Paddling Clean-Up
AsRA and the Kayak Shack hosted the second paddling river clean-up in Peru, NY on September 16th. Two dozen volunteers paddled the Carpenter’s Flats portion of the Ausable River and removed trash and over fifty tires from the streambed and shoreline. Several participants had volunteered the previous year but there were many new faces as well. The event was covered by the Press Republican and NBC5 Plattsburgh. If you are interested in volunteering with AsRA, contact Nicole.
Kayak Shack employees help volunteers remove tires from their boats and paddle boards.
5. On the Water
In addition to attending events, Nicole is in the field delivering education to students, anglers, and other river users. During the fishing season, she is on the river delivering the aquatic invasive species spread prevention message to anglers and other river users. This is part of a program funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program and NEIWPCC in an effort to keep aquatic invasive species from spreading in the Ausable River watershed and the Lake Champlain Basin. If you plan on fishing in the Ausable, make sure you “Check, Clean, and Dry” your gear. Nicole also helps run AsRA’s culvert lab, which teaches middle school students the science of replacing an undersized culvert by bringing them in the field to take water quality and slope measurements, perform pebble counts, and identify native plants and animals.
Over 275 people were engaged by the River Steward in 2017 and Nicole is looking forward to another busy season this year. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped with plantings and the clean-up. Attendance at these events was made possible by funding from the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.