Students help protect Battle River Watershed

As the Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) continues its campaign to educate, students at St. Augustine Catholic School have thought

As the Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) continues its campaign to educate, students at St. Augustine Catholic School have thought of some interesting ways to protect the watershed.

Three Grade 8 students last year came up with an idea to make and sell knotted bracelets. Funds from the bracelets bought white spruce seedlings and they were planted along the river valley trails by the Scout Hall Oct. 3.

The idea was sparked by BRWA Caring for Our Watersheds competitors Alyssa Klinger, Francesca Middleton and Elizabeth Raine who presented their Beads for Seeds proposal during the competition. Despite placing 10th out of 12 teams, the three walked away with $300 in prize money.

Approximately $150 was earned from the sale and the BRWA matched that to buy the seedlings.

More than 1,500 seedlings were planted along the trail with more than 50 students helping out. “I was so glad to have everybody down there and helping.”

Shayne Steffen, Ponoka county manager of agriculture services, assisted students on how and where to plant the seedlings. He gave them tips on how many to put together and how deep they should plant them.

Fall is “the best time for them (seedlings) to survive,” explained Klinger. Moisture from the snow helps the roots dig deeper and students planted two or three seedlings together. This helps if some do not survive, they can then offer nutrients to the other seedlings still growing.

“It was definitely a learning curve for me seeing how you could bring a bunch of people together to help,” said Klinger.

For Middleton, it was nerve-wracking speaking in front of so many people at the University of Alberta. “We never really realized how much people didn’t know about our watershed.”

It initially started with just the idea to sell bracelets to help raise awareness of the watershed, but “we had the really good idea to take the money from the bracelets to plant the seedlings.”

She feels the biggest thing she learned was not to take the watershed for granted. There were also a few people walking on the path who appreciated their environmental efforts, explained Middleton.

Klinger was grateful to everyone who came to help out. “A big thank you to everybody that supported.”

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