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Project Details

Project dates
Toronto, ON, Canada

Michael Norris

Project Lead

Les amis du ruisseau is a group of volunteers mobilized to educate and advocate for fish stock preservation in local streams and rivers of Greater Toronto Area, specifically in Scarborough. A design for fish boxes was developed to install in local streams to improve fish reproduction viability. These efforts resulted in a community-wide education campaign about the importance of local watershed to fish stocks in Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River.

Project Description

‘Les amis du ruisseau was an initiative that designed and developed fish boxes and ladders to improve reproduction prospects for local fish species seeking to spawn in the Chi Sippi (Rouge) River and Highland Creek. A design for the fish boxes and ladders was introduced, improved, and adopted using design thinking strategies developed through the Eco Action Accelerator Program. Construction of the first units was completed in the fall and installed for spawning season. Subsequent units were built over the winter for the next spawning season. In the spring, the installed units will be removed from the water, folded up, and stored for use in the next season. Over several years, fish stocks will be observed in order to measure the impact of the project and to identify design improvements by consulting industry experts and presenting the project to the public.
As a result of community interest in the project, community and school presentations were organized, as well as nature walks, where youth and adults could discover the boxes and learn about the importance of fish stock conservation. A total of 7 schools and 3 community associations participated in the project, and a total of 651 individuals were engaged, including 563 under the age of 30. A total of 15 volunteers were mobilized to assist with the project. In total, 6 boxes were constructed, and 1 ladder was also constructed. 1 box was unfortunately destroyed due to vandalism, but subsequently replaced.
Local schools, such as Churchill Heights Jr. Public School, École secondaire Père Philippe-Lamarche, as well as other schools living close to watersheds benefitted from presentations that were prepared and delivered in English and in French.
This project has been created in commemoration of the lives of all the victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, including two Ocean Bridge ambassadors, Danielle Moore and Micah Messent. We aspire to carry on their legacy and commitment to making the world a better place by creating long-lasting impacts with a firm commitment to driving positive change for the environment and our ocean. We will never forget the light that Danielle and Micah brought to the world and will continue to keep them in our hearts. To learn more about these two amazing people, please visit: Honouring Danielle and Micah  – Ocean Wise. This work is partially funded by the Commemoration Fund for Victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Tragedy

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest two challenges were time management and vandalism. As more schools took an interest in my project, I had less time to devote to checking on the boxes and keeping up with my records and reporting. This led to a decrease in observation of the boxes, an increase in the need for volunteers and for delegation of responsibilities. I believe this resulted in the vandalism of the box, because people thought it was junk, or served no purpose. Therefore, signage needed to be improved and subsequently was. These constant adjustments were difficult to navigate.

What was your most valuable takeaway?

I took away exactly that conservation without education is of limited collective impact. The two must go hand in hand. I am an environmentalist, yet I never considered myself an educator. However, I take away from this project that one compliments the other, and makes it stronger. I anticipated a lot of work and time for building the boxes. I did not anticipate the time and effort that would be devoted to presenting in local schools. This brought me valuable skills, and an understanding that the most important conservation work is work that is done together, that is approachable, understandable, and engaging for all.

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