The Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative (NWSRI) and School District No. 91 (Nechako Lakes) are proud to partner on a number of initiatives that support the recovery of the Nechako White Sturgeon, while building stewardship and conservation-conscious students in our communities. Over the last several years, our partnership has evolved into numerous learning opportunities for our teachers and students including tours of the Nechako White Sturgeon Conservation Centre (hatchery), high school student immersion experiences and on-going professional development for our teachers.
Our latest partnership is ‘The Storm Drain Painting Project’ which began in the fall of 2017 and will continue into 2018. This project involves students from schools in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James getting outside together to paint sturgeon and salmon pictures at storm drains throughout their communities. These images remind citizens that the contents that are poured down the storm drains will end up in fish habitat, with the hope that people will think twice before pouring detergents, paints etc. down these drains. This is one simple and effective project that has students engaged in authentic habitat conservation projects for a local and endangered species.
The Nechako White Sturgeon Curriculum program has a number of resources available to teachers, including lessons on sturgeon biology, ecology and the Nechako Watershed; a Nature Guide to the Nechako Watershed; a sturgeon field kit; and many other materials that focus on sturgeon. These resources are available online at www.nechakowhitesturgeon.org/education. A quick summary of these resources is available by clicking here.
Teachers and students from across all SD 91 communities have really enjoyed the Juvenile Sturgeon Release that happens annually in May at Riverside Park in Vanderhoof. This event sees students name their own individually tagged juvenile sturgeon prior to releasing the sturgeon directly into the Nechako River. These young sturgeon will form the next naturally breeding population of sturgeon in the Nechako River. The students can hardly believe that the released sturgeon will be as old as their teachers by the time they are ready to spawn. The event has educational booths from a variety of conservation partners including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.