Home » BioBlitz and celebration at Idlewild Park June 23

Posted: June 18, 2018

BioBlitz and celebration at Idlewild Park June 23

Restore Joseph Creek Project partners are teaming for a fun and educational family day at Idlewild Park Saturday, June 23.

The BioBlitz and Community Celebration is a free family event that will give the community the opportunity to visit the park, see the rehabilitation work that has been completed, and learn how to get involved with future projects along Joseph Creek.

Columbia Outdoor School staff installed nine bat houses at Idlewild Park.

The BioBlitz will begin at 9 a.m. Participants will meet with experts who will guide them through water testing, species inventory and data recording.

The Community Celebration will run from 12-3 p.m. A complimentary BBQ will begin at noon with speeches at 12:30 p.m. and the launch of the new floating island habitat into Idlewild Lake at 1 p.m.

From 12-3 p.m., local experts will have stations set up with fun information sessions about the species found within the park such as bats, mosquitos, fish, plants, and osprey. Columbia Outdoor School will be on site to provide games and activities.

Organizers will provide tours of the rehabilitation project and talk about the Restore Joseph Creek Project as a whole. The City of Cranbrook will provide information about the Idlewild Dam.

Families can come for the whole day or to drop in for part of it. “This is an opportunity to see what has been accomplished at Idlewild, participate in hands-on learning experiences and to discover the incredible biodiversity in the park,” said Todd Hebert, Executive Director of Columbia Outdoor School.

“In 2016, the Restore Joseph Creek Project was initiated as part of the Idlewild Dam replacement. In 2017, the project plan was approved by city council and the work began to restore the riparian area disturbed during dam construction.”

“Our vision is that Joseph Creek and the surrounding landscape should be a healthy, functioning system capable of supporting the ecological and community infrastructure requirements while enhancing recreation, historic and culture assets.”

The Restore Joseph Creek Project is being coordinated by Columbia Outdoor School with the support of consortium partners including the City of Cranbrook, College of the Rockies, School District No. 5, the Ktunaxa Nation, ?Aq’am Community, and the Regional District of East Kootenay.

Several projects have been completed at Idlewild Park to date. In the fall of 2017, a large section of invasive plants adjacent to the lake was removed and replaced with new streams and channels designed to enhance the existing wetland. Over 2,000 local students visited Idlewild Park to participate in ecosystem lessons presented by Columbia Outdoor School and to re-plant riparian areas disturbed during dam construction with native shrubs and grasses.

This spring, BC Hydro donated and installed a birds of prey tower in the new wetland. “Within weeks, a pair of Osprey settled in and began nest building. Experts believe there are eggs in the nest and hope to spot young in the next few weeks,” said Hebert.

A total of nine bat houses were installed in three key locations within Idlewild Park. “Each rocket box, as they are known, has the potential to provide roosting space for up to two hundred bats,” said Hebert. “These misunderstood creatures play an important role in controlling nocturnal insect populations and cycling nutrients from wetlands to forests. Fish and turtle habitats will be installed in the lake this summer to reintroduce sun protection, shelters and basking areas for native species.”

For more information visit the Restore Joseph Creek Project website at www.restorejosephcreek.com or call 250-426-3676.

Lead image: Students participating in ecology lessons at Idlewild Park. Photos submitted

Columbia Outdoor School

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