Meet Dorthea Grégoire
Dorthea Grégoire reaches into the critter pond at the Tourond Creek Discovery Centre. She is surrounded by grade six students from Steinbach. They squeal with excitement as Dorthea uses her hands to remove a water bug from her net. There is a huge grin on Dorthea’s face as she teaches the young students about the type of insect she is holding.
Dorthea is the Roseau Watershed Technician at the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD). She runs our field office in Vita and is well known for her enthusiasm and active involvement in her community. Dorthea is about to finish her PhD from the University of New Brunswick. She is an environmental expert who specializes in insect and plant interactions. You could spend hours listening to Dorthea tell you stories about her research adventures in the great forests of Acadia. Dorthea also has a tremendous heart for children and a passion for environmental education. You might spot her facilitating educational activities at places like the Tourond Creek Discovery Centre.
Tourond Creek Discovery Centre (TCDC)
The Tourond Creek Discovery Centre (TCDC) is an outdoor classroom used to host schools from the surrounding area. This old landfill has been transformed into a nature centre that is bursting with life. The TCDC is home to many different plant and animal species. Students can walk along the trails that connect several different ecosystems in the centre. A viewing tower overlooks the landscape, including a picnic shelter, dock, and shallow pond.
Students participate in hands-on learning activities, like “critter-dipping.” Critter-dipping is an activity that students participate in by catching insects in the shallow pond. Students use magnifying glasses to identify the different types of insect species that live in this ecosystem.
The TCDC is available for your school to use as a unique way to engage students in an outdoor setting. The TCDC website has plenty of resources for primary, middle, and secondary school teachers. These resources provide teachers with lesson guides and activities for fun, outdoor lessons. You can learn more by visiting the TCDC online at www.tourondcreekdiscovery.ca.
The SRRCD has partnered with South Central Eco Institute to bring “River Watch” to local schools in our district. River Watch is a citizen-science program. It gives schools an opportunity to participate in water quality testing of their local waterways. Students are involved in all aspects of water quality testing. They help to collect and analyze the samples, as well as monitor water quality parameters such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and pH. The SRRCD provides on-the-ground-technical support to interested teachers. We will show the students how to conduct the different types of tests and help them understand what the results mean for their watershed. All the data collected through the River Watch program are entered online atwww.scecoinstitute.com.
Contact the SRRCD Today
You can learn more about how the SRRCD supports environmental education by contacting our office in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at www.srrwd.ca, or www.tourondcreekdiscovery.ca
The students at the TCDC are getting ready to go to their next activity station. They chase each other along the hiking trails as I follow behind. I stop by the critter-dipping station to visit Dorthea and to catch my breath for a moment. Dorthea enthusiastically tells me about all the different types of insects she saw in the pond. She pulls out one of her trusty field guides and eagerly flips through its glossy pages. She shows me pictures of various insects and tells me in great detail how each one is different from the others. Dorthea has a wonderful way of relating her extensive knowledge and experience. Her joyful personality gives me a sense of ease as I try to shepherd the energetic sixth graders from one activity to the next. I am thankful that the children are under the care of excellent teachers and facilitators who are passionate about promoting environmental education.