Free Science & Nature on Tour at Cooper Marsh

Seen in image above: Dr. Robin Poole Chair of Cooper Marsh Conservators. Courtesy photo

The River Institute’s signature speaker series, ‘Science and Nature on Tap’ is winding up its special summer “On Tour” component for 2018. On Wednesday, September 12 at 5:30 p.m. the series will travel down the St. Lawrence River to the Visitor Centre at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area in Lancaster for a visit and everyone is invited to come along. This free session is accessible for all ages and will explore the unique flora and fauna of Cooper Marsh.

Seen in image above: Students visit Cooper Marsh. Courtesy photo

Nestled on the picturesque north shore of Lake St. Francis, the Conservation Area is the proud legacy of the late Mr. William Cooper Sr., a past Chair of the Raisin Region Conservation Authority. This cherished wetland is part of the larger Charlottenburgh Marsh and is recognized as one of the most significant wetlands in all of Ontario.

Seen in image above: Overhead view of Cooper Marsh Ponds and Channels. Courtesy photo

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. visitors will be able to join in on a “Birds, Bees, and Blossoms” Guided Marsh Tour led by Fish and Wildlife Biologist Brendan Jacobs and volunteers from the “Working with Wildflowers” group. Afterwards, these volunteers along with some of the other groups connected to the Marsh such as the Cornwall and Area Birding Club, South Lancaster Fish and Game Club, and Glengarry Trappers will be on hand with interactive displays on native plants and animals. The evening will also feature a Virtual Tour of the Marsh presentation with RRCA’s Brendan Jacobs and wind up with a Q and A session with refreshments.

Administered by the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA), Cooper Marsh is actively supported through the exceptional fundraising efforts of the Cooper Marsh Conservator volunteer team headed up by Dr. Robin Poole. Since 2012, over $600,000 has been raised by the Conservators for repair and addition of infrastructure, habitat restoration, and new signage. RRCA has also continued to work on creating channels and through drawdowns within the dykes in the Main and East Marsh (2011 – 2016) and from 2017 in the West Marsh.

Over the last five years, the Conservators have embarked on a project with partners such as RRCA and Ducks Unlimited to enhance fish and bird breeding habitat through the creation of cattail-free areas of open water ponds and connecting channels. All of the hard work is resulting in a marked increase in the nesting of wetland birds. In the last 3 years, Sandhill Cranes have nested for first time and Black Terns nested in 2018 for first time in many years.

The public is invited to come and see for themselves just what is taking place at Cooper Marsh in this one-of-a-kind Science and Nature on Tour.

Science and Nature on Tour sessions are free of charge. For more information contact the program coordinator at (613) 936-6620 (x229) or email Karen Cooper at kcooper@riverinstitute.ca. or visit: www.riverinstitute.ca.

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