| May 25, 2006


Feature Article - May 25, 2006

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Feature Article - May 25, 2006

Leonard Quarry becomes outdoor classroom

by Jeff Green

You wouldn’t think that a quarry would be the ideal location to take public school students to learn about fish habitat and watershed issues, but that is exactly what the people from the Gould Lake Outdoor Centre of the Limestone School Board have been doing this spring.

The Leonard Quarry on Road 38 is not a standard quarry, however. It has piles of crushed rock and weigh scales, much like all other quarries, but there are also a series of ponds and water-filled concrete tanks that make up the Leonard Walleye hatchery. It is these ponds that have been turned into an outdoor classroom by Gould Lake educators.

Jeff Sanderson is a teacher at Gould Lake , where outdoor classes are conducted on a year-round basis. Wade Leonard, who has been running the fish hatchery with his father Bob for well over a decade, has been doing a practicum at Gould Lake as part of a one-year teaching accreditation course he is doing.

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“The idea came up that we might bring some classes at the fish hatchery, to teach some different material than we expose them to at Gould Lake, and to ease some of the burden on Gould Lake, which is very crowded this time of year,” said Jeff Sanderson.

Last week students from Rideau Heights School in Kingston visited the hatchery. Four different stations were had been set up, and the students split into groups to study oxygenation, the concept of ph values, the growth of zooplankton, and how fish populations are determined through netting and estimating.

“It turns out there was a better mix with the curriculum than we had expected,” said Jeff Sanderson.

By the end of each day, the students had each made their way to all the stations, had been chased by snakes, and had learned a bit about how a fish hatchery is run, and about the complex interactions between inputs to watershed ecosystems and the resulting outcomes.

For the Leonard Fish hatchery, it has been a new experience hosting classrooms full of children. For Wade Leonard it has been an opportunity to put his teaching skills into practice and impart some of the knowledge that he has developed experimenting with the fish hatchery for all these years.

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