COLA collaborates with Century Adventures, Scouts and more
Our volunteers from the Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) have been busy collaborating with our community partners. Our mutual goals center around sharing knowledge and practicing skills aimed at maintaining our healthy lakes and rivers. Our personal commitment to our own behavior changes in cleaning and draining our water-related equipment helps our entire area thrive.
We worked with kindergarten to adults this spring. First, with the Park Rapids Community Education's Century Adventures activity-based school-age childcare program, then with Girl Scouts. We updated folks at our April COLA meeting and also at the ACTION Park Rapids quarterly meeting. Sharing may create ideas for additional opportunities.
Century Adventures activities focused on identification of aquatic invasive species (AIS), like zebra mussels, and their impact on native mussel species, plus other threats were explored, like soil erosion and excess nutrients. In a game called "Mussel Mania," children learned about the foods that feed the native mussels and how the zebra mussels outcompete and overpower. The seven stations manned by COLA volunteers were a buzz of activity for the 75 kindergarten through fifth graders. We sprinkled in fun fishing skills, like demonstrating making flies for trout fishing, knot tying practice for fishhooks, and what to do when you get that first fish bite on your rod, plus fish identification.
Girl Scout Troop 408 of Park Rapids came up with a terrific community project idea that we were able to guide them on. Last autumn, they learned about the need for zebra mussel settlement samplers that were made of PVC pipe, making it easy for folks to see and feel if zebra mussels are present. This spring, the Scouts learned how to create the samplers with the help of COLA team member instructions, Century Middle School industrial tech equipment, adult assistance and elbow grease.
Now the Girl Scout settlement samplers are being adopted by lake associations and resorts to increase the number of eyes on the waters, all looking for AIS. The Girl Scout troop is looking forward to learning how to hang the sampler at Heartland Park with the help of the Fishhook Lake and River Association in June.
Governor Dayton's proclamation that Saturday (today) is "Clean Drain Dry Day" is a great reminder of our own personal responsibility to carefully use our shared lakes and rivers and protect them from AIS.
On Friday, June 8, the University of Minnesota AIS Research Center will provide an update at M State campus in Detroit Lakes from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no fee for this event. Lunch is provided. Register by calling 218-846-0436 or emailing email@example.com. Hubbard County COLA is a co-sponsor of this regional event. All the public is welcome to come and learn more about zebra mussel research, starry stonewort, impacts of zebra mussels and spiny waterflea on Mille Lacs Lake, and more. AIS prevention is up to all of us!