Biocitizen is excited to announce a family-driven public-education program called
Earth Stewardship: Establishing Fishways on the Connecticut River
We know the news is not good. Greta Thunberg (and 1000000s of others) have alerted us that we’ve entered an age of global warming, climate change and mass extinctions. Add COVID-19 to the list and there are good reasons to run and hide and never come back again.
But that’s not the Biocitizen way. We love our place. And there’s no better antidote to despair than action, no more productive strategy to clean up the mess than to get out and start mopping, no faster way to stop a collapse than to buttress—no more effective method to prevent extinctions than by bringing life and energy to where its needed most.
The Connecticut River is one of the places where fish, including the Shortnose Sturgeon, are going extinct.
Course Description (short)
Acting as “earth stewards”, we’re going increase sturgeon populations, dramatically. The construction of fishways is the best way to do this, so students will:
1) Visit and document the places where new or improved fishways can be installed. (Mid-January)
2) Read and discuss selections from Dr. Boyd Kynard’s, and others’, works. (Late-January)
3) Consult with and learn from conservationists, biologists, engineers, agency officials and legislators. (Beginning February)
4) Create and post reports on biocitizen.org (Mid-February)
5) Create a final report to legislators that will be presented to them, the media and the public. (March)
This course is designed to nurture “Greta Thunbergs” by helping students to develop research and communication skills. Through this meaningful community-based project they’ll sink, through their own curiosity and concern, deep into the complexities of ethics, science and politics. We want parents to get involved and help their student(s) study and comprehend the issues, and draft and share reports. There are many levels of comprehension that are equally valid and important, so the course is open to anybody who can read or be read to. This is a public education project; we want to get the public involved. We want to connect and motivate.
This course is also designed to empower. Building fishways will make us feel good. They will solve a giant problem at a time when we need to get good at doing that.
We will do the fishways sites visit Mid-January. Most class meetings will be done on Zoom, and reports will be created and shared online.
Tuition is a requested but not required $200.00.
Course Description (long)
Earth Stewardship is a title that describes a way of being, and it comes from the Ecological Society of America (ESA):
Earth stewardship involves shaping trajectories of social-ecological change at local-to-global scales to enhance ecosystem resilience and human well-being. Over the next decade or two, society has a window of opportunity to radically redefine our relationship with the planet to reduce risks of dangerous global changes that could otherwise seriously degrade Earth’s life-support systems.
Our CT fishways public education project is one the ESA is calling for:
The Ecological Society of America (ESA), in partnership with other academic societies, agencies, and non-governmental groups, seeks to foster earth stewardship by … communicating the basis for earth stewardship to a broad range of audiences, including natural and social scientists, students, the general public, policy makers, and other practitioners.
We will contact the ESA to apprise it of our efforts and to seek its recognition and support. We want to spread the good news, and connect students to other teachers and educational programs that can further develop their knowledge and skills.
We are very lucky to have the mentorship of Dr. Boyd Kynard, who is recognized globally as an authority on Sturgeon behavior and habitat, and who has played a singular role in the research and conservation of river fish in the Connecticut River. Two years ago, he established the Living Rivers School with Biocitizen that gives students hands-on experience in river fish conservation biology. He also designs fishways that save fish and serve as a place where people can watch migrations up close. Rivers are alive, and his fishways make them livelier!
This December, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife celebrated the Shortnose Sturgeon that Dr. Kynard has devoted much of his career studying and protecting.
According to the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife:
SO: Biocitizen students will practice “earth stewardship” by assisting, through their public education campaign, the effort to establish fishways. Under the direction of Dr. Kynard, and Dr. Heidinger, with help from friends in the conservation community, and via plenty of hands-on experience, they will introduce themselves to the ecological, engineering, cultural and political dimensions of this great problem and solution.
Saving the river fish means saving more than fish, and bringing health to the river brings health to many other things too.