The National Fish Habitat Board in Washington, D.C., recognized the Wasilla Soil and Water Conservation District for its leadership in education and outreach programs.
Last year the Wasilla District engaged more than 2,000 kids and adults in MAT-SU fish habitat restoration and protection projects.
While small in size, their program yields big results,” said Jeanne Hanson of National Marine Fisheries Service who submitted the nomination. “This “can do” attitude never seems to falter regardless of the obstacles.”The Wasilla District was established in 1947 under the authority of the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources to help landowners in conservation planning and natural resource development. The Wasilla District is also a partner with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the nationally recognized Matanuska-Susitna Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership.
“This is very exciting for Wasilla Soil & Water Conservation District and the MAT-SU Salmon Partnership to have one of our members receive a national award – especially for outreach and education. Wasilla Soil & Water District has been a champion of engaging school children and citizens in hands-on stewardship activities that benefit fish, year after year,” said Frankie Barker, Environmental Planner for the MAT-SU Borough and a member of the Steering Committee for the Salmon Partnership.
Catherine Inman, Program Manager of Wasilla Soil & Water, will be attending a ceremony on April 22, 2010 in Washington, D.C., to accept the award.
The Wasilla District has worked with Teeland Middle students since 2006 to conduct restoration work and stream studies at Little Susitna River off Schrock Road. Each year students do hands-on restoration activities, examine environmental models, and learn about fish and wildlife habitat. In May 2009, 200 students helped restore both western banks downstream from the bridge.
Fifty students and parents from Finger Lake Elementary School participated in a Cottonwood Creek field day & restoration in May 2009. They examined educational data collection stations (fish trap, macroinvertebrates, water chemistry) and planted willows to restore the streambank.
Photos by Catherine Inman, Wasilla Soil & Water Conservation District. Top photo: Knik Elementary students on the Palmer Hay Flats. Middle Photo: Catherine Inman, Wasilla District, restoring streambank. Bottom: Students laying erosion control mat.
For more information on NFHAP go http://fishhabitat.org. For information on the MAT-SU Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership, go to www.nature.org/Alaska.