Another busy week for youth rangers

Submitted by
the Stewardship
Youth Rangers

The Fort Frances Stewardship Youth Rangers, in their third week, continued to explore the world of water and all things in it, including themselves!
While our last article told you about controlling water through “beaver baffling,” this past week we gained Ontario Recreational Canoe and Kayak Association (ORCKA) Level 2 certification and took part in the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
To begin the week, both crews went up to Rice Bay to do ORCKA training with certified canoeing instructor Ilka Milne.
Level 2 is required training for all MNRF Stewardship Youth Rangers taking part in canoe trips.
We started off learning different canoe strokes and turning techniques. We also learned how to carry our canoes in and out of the water, how to get back into a canoe from the water, and how to safely canoe up to a dock.
The rangers also completed the required 400-metre swim test, which is part of the certification.
Following a lunch break, we learned how to do a “canoe over canoe” rescue and canoed around the bay for a while. All of the rangers now have the ORCKA Level 2 certification.
We then went to the United Native Friendship Centre to learn from Robert Horton of the Seven Generations Education Institute about Anishinaabe culture, language, and treaty rights.
We learned about the history of Treaty #3, how the shape of the snapping turtle represents North America, and many more things!
Later in the week, the crews were working at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, which is a live release tournament.
We first had a briefing with Melissa Mosley, a biologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, who told us all about the fisheries monitoring program for small- and largemouth bass.
She also showed us the instruments we would be using to measure oxygen levels and water temperature in the tanks.
During the tournament, we also were taught how to measure and record the length of the bass, and how to take a small cutting of the dorsal spine–a standard procedure used by ministry staff to determine the age of the fish.
Over these two days, our two crews split our time between tending the fish and manning our outreach booth to promote awareness of the Fort Frances Stewardship Youth Rangers-Ogimaa Binesiiyog Partnership, as well as other Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry programs.

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