2015 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Jocelyn Lalach from St. Edward School is passionate about birds and is sharing that passion with others! Birds are an integral part of our watershed. Indeed, without them, many functions that they provide would no longer exist. Jocelyn explored the benefits of healthy bird populations and their benefits to the South Saskatchewan River Watershed such as reducing insect populations and seed transportation in the river valley.
Birds provide many benefits to our local watershed! Through transporting seeds in the river valley, birds help new native shrubs grow and root in the riparian area providing wildlife habitat and other ecological services. The riparian area is the zone along river or creek banks close to the water. This zone needs strong and healthy shrubs to help keep pollutants out of our water ways. Plants in the riparian area slow down water and help it infiltrate and filter through soil and root systems before entering our watershed. This process reduces the amount of runoff entering our water ways and helps to prevent pesticides, fertilizers, and other pollutants from entering our watershed. As an added benefit, these shrubs and their root systems provide structure for the soil along river and creek banks which prevent erosion. Lastly, birds eat insects. The healthier our bird populations in our watershed the more insects they eat and the less pesticides we use to control them ourselves!
Jocelyn developed a curriculum based program called “I Thought I Saw a Tweety Bird” that educates students in grades 2 and 3 about the different types of bird species found in the South Saskatchewan River Basin. She developed a bird unit that is available online here: http://ycojchill.wix.com/birds-unit with all the necessary tools for teachers and students to learn about the importance of birds to their watershed. Jocelyn has left her website up online for teachers to access the curriculum material.