Written by: Robert Leone, Festival and Community Outreach Assistant
In celebration for the 19th annual World Wetlands Day on February 2nd, event organizers have challenged youth from around the globe to promote wise management of wetlands by raising awareness on the vital benefits afforded to us by these complex and threatened landscapes.
This year, dozens of youth groups in Halton Region will meet that challenge through their participation in Trout Unlimited Canada’s Yellow Fish Road program. Yellow Fish Road is a nation-wide environmental outreach initiative that raises awareness about the interconnected nature of our watershed, and the impacts of pollution entering urban storm drains. By visiting their local storm water catch basins, students of Yellow Fish Road map how fertilizers, salts, and motor oil from our yards, sidewalks, and roadways wash into local water courses untreated and degrade the health of the water we, and so many other species, depend on.
What I love about this program is that it communicates the valuable role urban creeks and wetlands play in the collection and purification of water. The program also empowers youth to share this information with friends, family, and the wider public. When participants paint yellow fish with the words “RAINWATER ONLY” beside storm drains, they become water stewards. The yellow fish remind neighbours that hazardous household substances such as paint, pool chemicals, and detergents do not belong in the storm sewer system. Volunteers also hand-out fish-shaped brochures to nearby households. The brochures inform residents of the rationale behind Yellow Fish Road, and also provides directions on proper disposal of hazardous materials.
Who can participate?
We encourage everybody to participate. This program is perfect for community youth groups, individual classes, and small camps.
Young people are often recognized as drivers of change. Youth have a growing interest in environmental issues, are creative, tech savvy, and communicate ideas to friends and family members with contagious enthusiasm. By educating today’s youth about water stewardship we trigger a ripple effect that can turn the tide on how we manage our most precious resource: water.
How can I participate in Yellow Fish Road?
Conservation Halton is a proud partner of Trout Unlimited Canada’s Yellow Fish Road program. For more information on how you can get involved please contact us.