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WRWA sponsors or participates in a variety of events during the year. Many of these events offer opportunities for volunteers to get involved with watershed issues. The listing below includes some specifics for 2016 events.
Trout in the Classroom (TIC): WRWA provided chillers and tanks (and other supplemental equpment) for five local schools (7 tanks) to participate in this program during the Spring of 2016. This year's schools were the North and South Middle Schools (3 tanks altogether) in Westfield, Gateway Regional Middle School in Huntington, Powder Mill Middle School (2 tanks) in Southwick, and the R. H. Conwell Elementary School in Worthington. About 100 brook trout eggs were delivered to each site in January. Students monitored the hatching of the eggs and fed the young fish until they are stocked in local streams in April or May. WRWA provided assistance with release activities on three dates.
2016 Westfield River Symposium: WRWA's annual river symposium was held on Saturday, April 2 in the Scanlon Banquet Hall on the campus of Westfield State University. Roughly 100 people attended the indoor portion of the day, and several people learned about water quality sampling during a hands-on afternoon session in Stanley Park. This year's theme was "Citizen Science in Our Watershed". The keynote address was given by Sienna Wildfield, a longtime international environmental activist and founder of the Hilltown Families website. The full program is available here.
Spring River Cleanup: The annual spring cleanup event was held on Saturday, April 23 in Westfield and Agawam. Roughly 50 people turned out to clean accumulated trash and debris from the riverbanks at several sites that were chosen based on spring surveys. The "haul" included many bags of trash, some tires and a number of larger items. Thanks to Mark Damon (Westfield) and Sheryl Becker (Agawam) for organizing.
Annual Meeting: About 25 people attended WRWA's annual meeting (open only to members), at which the Board for 2016-2017 was elected, along with the Secretary and Treasurer, on Thursday, May 19 in the downstairs meeting space at the Westfield Athenaeum. A social hour, with light refreshments was followed by the business meeting, which featured a brief recap of the year's events. Thanks to retiring board members George Reichert and Samantha Via. Welcome to new board members Ann Barone.
Fish Ladder Open House: This once-a-year opportunity to tour the West Springfield fish ladder was offered on Sunday, June 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Despite the threat of heavy rain and thunderstorms (which led to an official cancellation), more than 50 people showed up during the day and the rain actually held off til mid-afternoon.
Westfield River Canoe and Kayak Cruise: Due to low water conditions, the annual canoe cruise from Westfield to Robinson State Park, which had been scheduled for June 18, was cancelled this year. Keep an eye out for this event next summer!
Storm Drain Labeling: Over the summer we completed labeling drains in Southwick, bringing the total number of markers put out there to over 1100. In the fall, following completion of paving along North Elm St. and in the Gas Light District of Westfield, roughly 150 markers were added near drains in those parts of Westfield. We've got another couple of hundred markers that we'll use to replace missing labels in Westfield next year, bringing this project to a close - hopefully, everyone's seen these colorful labels and has gotten the message that the storm drains lead directly to the river or other waterways.
Fall River Clean-Up: On Saturday, September 24 WRWA sponsored its annual fall cleanup (as part of the Connecticut River Watershed Council's "Source to Sea" event) along the Westfield River in Westfield and Agawam. Access to the river was easier than most years because of low river levels and the groups gathered more than 120 bags of trash, 20 bags of recyclables, and nearly 40 tires along with other large items, including a kitchen sink! Thanks to Mark Damon (Westfield) and Sheryl Becker (Agawam) for their efforts to identify locations in need of cleaning and their leadership on the day of the event!