DUC is proud to recognize ten-year-old Lucy Harrison as our newest Wetland Hero.
Harrison has shown great leadership at Hilliardton Marsh, one of DUC’s Wetland Centres of Excellence in New Liskeard, Ont., where she has been volunteering for more than three years.
When Harrison started at the marsh, she helped enter data into the popular citizen science app, e-Bird. She became not only one of the youngest e-Bird volunteers at the marsh, but one that research and education coordinator Bruce Murphy came to rely on.
“Very quickly we knew that Lucy was something special,” says Murphy. “Things that are normally difficult for our younger volunteers, she picked them up easily.”
It wasn’t long before Harrison started helping with other tasks around the marsh, like checking nets and banding birds. Bird banding isn’t normally taught to kids younger than 10, but Lucy proved that she could handle it.
“We started having her demonstrate how to handle birds for school groups,” says Murphy. “The students’ eyes would light up when they saw her do it. They would think ‘I could do that, too’ and it boosted their confidence.”
Very quickly we knew that Lucy was something special.
A young advocate for wetlands
Over the past three years, Harrison has spent over a thousand hours at the marsh. She’s extracted hundreds of birds from nets and banded them. Her confidence has grown, and so has her love of the natural world.
“I’m going to try to save our wetlands,” says Harrison. “I’m writing a letter to the government.”
She explains that the marsh gets funding from the Ontario government, but she doesn’t know how long that will last. She’s writing the letter to explain why wetlands are important.
“I don’t want them to change their minds,” she says. “If they decide the marsh doesn’t matter anymore, they can take everything down. There are birds here, there are trees here. We need to protect them.”
Murphy is proud of Harrison for taking action. “It’s great to see her using her voice,” he says. “When I first met her, she was so quiet! She’s become much more confident since coming here. It’s been a real joy to see.”
Nominate a Wetland Hero
Do you know a young person who’s making a difference for wetlands? Nominate them using our online submission form.Learn more