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Visitors Wild About Wildlife in Wellington

Wildlife control officer Tiffany Empey with Stephen Hawk-ing at Quinte Conservation’s Wild About Wildlife Day in Wellington. Empey works with Falcon Environmental Services which use hawks and falcons to clear airports of other birds. She mostly works at CFB Trenton and Mountainview airports but she and Steve will also be doing some work together at Shearwater Airport. – Sue Capon photos

Tiffany Empey explained to visitors how she and Dante, a peregrine hybrid falcon, work together to clear airports of other birds who may otherwise damage aircraft.

Families gathered in Wellington Friday to meet Stephen Hawking, Dante the falcon, learn about native reptiles and maybe hold or touch a snake. They were also invited to learn about water, bugs and native flowers.

The event was the final of six in the region hosted by Quinte Conservation staff and summer students focusing on interactive activities exploring nature.

Maya Navrot, Quinte Conservation’s Education and Stewardship Coordinator, said some of the activity stations had been running since early morning as families were eager to make their way into the park.

Kierstyn Bennett and Matt Grouchy, summer students with Quinte Conservation, assist visitors to the wildflower booth with making plant pots.

For some, the first stop is the wildflower station where participants learn how to make a plant pot and take a seedling home to their own garden. This year, wild bergamot; meadow sweet and yellow shrubby cinquefoil seedlings were offered.

“Each year we have different wildflowers and it’s nice to hear from families coming in every year to get a new wildflower to add to their garden,” said Navrot. “They tell us about how the flowers from past years have done over the years,” said Navrot.

Darcy Barnes spent well over an hour investigating bugs that live in our streams.

Eight-year-old Darcy Barnes, however, headed straight for the tubs of water to investigate creatures who live in streams.

“She’s been here for more than an hour,” said her grandma Mary Kay Morris. “Even when she was a little girl she would go out in the backyard and play with little critters, put them in boxes and bring them to grandpa, or her mom.

Darcy’s grandpa James Robert Morris is a retired biologist and is her inspiration.

“I’m going to be a marine biologist when I grow up. My grandpa’s a biologist,” Darcy said as she sifted through the water looking for bugs. “I found a boatman but he’s so fast, I just can’t get it. I’ve caught the dragonfly three times and I’ve caught the mayfly larvee four times.”

“Children aren’t naturally afraid of the environment,” her grandma said. “Sometimes they’re taught to be afraid of it.”

Parker Garden demonstrates his snake holding technique.

Camryn, with dad Rob, proud to show the finger she used to touch one of the snakes she met.

Parker Garden was not admitting any fear, but he remained undecided about meeting the snakes on scene for inspection and careful handling, so he brought his own stuffed and assuredly friendly snake to the gathering.

His sister, Camryn, however was proud to show dad Rob, the finger she used to touch one of the snakes she met.

“She’s braver than me,” dad laughed.

Thankful for a $1,500 contribution to the Wild About Wildlife events held throughout the Quinte Conservation watershed, were Jim Dunlop, Quinte Conservation Board Member; with Christian Doig, Union Gas; Janice Maynard, Board Chair for Quinte Conservation and Maya Navrot, Education and Stewardship Coordinator at Quinte Conservation.

Nature discoveries will continue as the Wild About Wildlife events received a $1,500 boost from Union Gas during Wellington’s event.

Navrot said the company’s continued support helps Quinte Conservation offer the events throughout the watershed at no cost to the participants.

“Because of contributions received from Union Gas over the years, we have had the opportunity to further strengthen the education programs in our communities. This means that our watershed initiatives are becoming stronger as youth are learning the importance of a healthy watershed.”

The 2018 Wild About Wildlife days took place in six communities throughout Quinte Conservation’s watershed during the months of July and August.

Glen Caradus, the Paddling Puppeteer of Peterborough, entertained children with a conservation-themed show.

Quinte Conservation summer student Peyton McNevin demonstrates the effects of environmental spills.

A station to create pet rocks was a popular stop for children and adults.

Quinte Conservation is a community-based environmental protection agency serving 18 municipalities in the watersheds of the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers and Prince Edward County.

More information about Quinte Conservation is available at

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