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Earth Day Oshawa Creek walk guided by UOIT professor

Dr. Andrea Kirkwood discusses environmental stresses affecting urban waterways like Oshawa Creek on Earth Day 2012.
Dr. Andrea Kirkwood discusses environmental stresses affecting urban waterways like Oshawa Creek on Earth Day 2012.

Nature lovers in Oshawa spent a cloudy Earth Day 2012 taking an informative guided walk along Oshawa Creek.

Hosted by the City of Oshawa, the creek walk was led by UOIT biology professor Dr. Andrea Kirkwood. Attendees gathered at Oshawa City Hall to listen to the short presentation about urban creeks. Dr. Kirkwood explained what stresses can be placed on the creeks, why waterways are important to protect and how that goal can be achieved. Around 30 people attended the walk, which Dr. Kirkwood says was the perfect size as everyone was able to hear, see and learn along the way.

The walk followed the creek northward from City Hall to Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens, with Dr. Kirkwood pointing out the difference between the natural riverbank zone and artificial channelization. She also pointed out where fish liked to spend time and spawn, including what type of riverbed was most suitable for spawning.

Once the group arrived at the Botanical Gardens, Dr. Kirkwood and UOIT graduate student Jordan Anderson jumped right into the thick of things by putting on hip-waders and walking into the creek to collect bug samples.

“The type of aquatic bugs you find in a creek is a good indication of the health of the creek,” said Dr. Kirkwood. “All the participants had a chance to see leeches, worms and fish eggs from our sample. They were able to look at their water quality handout and determine that the water quality wasn’t very good along that stretch of the Oshawa Creek.”

Dr. Kirkwood hopes that this type of educational event will help the community understand how to care for their local environment.

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