Silver Creek Elementary School students Cane Cameron, Jove Martin-Kurucz, outdoor educator Natalie Worrall and student Steven Talarico dug deep into the mud in Thacker Marsh, to collect aquatic invertebrates in their quest to learn more about wetlands. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

VIDEO: Silver Creek students collect creepy crawlies

Thacker Marsh a thriving wetland and outdoor classroom

Students dashed around Thacker Marsh, pails and scoop nets in hand, fishing out freshwater shrimp, whirligig beetles and damselfly nymphs.

The Grade 4-5 Silver Creek Elementary School class collected the bugs April 30, during the Hope Mountain Centre wetlands program.

“We are learning about how we can be stewards of the wetlands and so we are collecting aquatic invertebrates, or bugs, that live in the water,” said outdoor educator Natalie Worrall.

“We’re going to talk about the differences and similarities of some of them and how they can indicate that Thacker Marsh is actually healthy right now, just by being here.”

The wetlands program is run by the Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning, together with the Fraser Valley Regional District, the Fraser-Cascade School District, and sponsored by Nestle Waters since 2009. It includes a classroom component, then a morning spent fishing bugs out of the wetlands —Thacker Marsh, Cheam Lake, Miami River —sorting them into carnivorous or vegetarian and examining them up close.

“It’s all about getting kids outside and connecting with nature, not only for the health of our children, but also for the health of these extremely important ecosystems such as marshlands,” Worrall said.

The hope is, when the students grow into adulthood, learn how to steward the wetlands and the animals who live within them.

After the wetland program, Worrall will go on to teach students about terrestrial insects, forest ecology and beavers.

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Shannon Peters, left, and Payton Beauchamp carefully examine the creatures they collected in the marsh to identify which bug they have and whether they are carnivores or herbivores. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Jaelyn Pilon, left and Addison Szakall show off a slug they collected in Thacker Marsh. They named him Sr. Sea Slug. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

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