Sudbury

Sudbury stewardship group working to stay connected with community during pandemic

A stewardship committee in Greater Sudbury that protects a creek that runs through the city is struggling financially due to the ongoing pandemic.

Junction Creek Stewardship Committee says many donations come at community events, now cancelled

The public usually assists in cleanup programs at Junction Creek in Sudbury but those are cancelled due to the pandemic. (Junction Creek Stewardship Committee Facebook)

A stewardship committee in Greater Sudbury that protects a creek that runs through the city is struggling financially due to the ongoing pandemic.

The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee looks after the restoration and conservation of that waterway. It does that in a number of ways, including holding community events like regular clean-ups.

But all community events are now cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Miranda Virtanen, executive director of the stewardship committee, says the annual festival and trout release last month was cancelled. Upcoming cleanup events are also cancelled.

"Everything is postponed until we can conduct a cleanup safely," she said. "Without being able to do those creek cleanups, it means that litter is remaining along the shorelines and waterways which is detrimental to the environment and wildlife."

Virtanen says the community events not only provide education, but funding opportunities as well. She says since the pandemic started, money has been an issue.

"It's probably where we're hit the hardest," she said. "As a non-for-profit, we rely on grants and donations and support from the community."

She says they still have funding for grant projects, but adds there's not a lot of options for new funding.

She says most community donations come at in person events.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to connect back to the community," she said. "We're working at making it easier for people to provide donations online."

Miranda Virtanen is the executive director of Junction Creek Stewardship Committee in Greater Sudbury (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

She says they're also working on creating virtual education programs to keep the community involved.

"For the students and the youth to still get involved with Junction Creek and learning about the critters and the importance of keeping the watershed clean," she said.

"We're still developing those programs."

She says the committee has been working on its own on creek monitoring and restoration efforts.

"We were still able to release brook trout into the creek, it just wasn't a public event," she said.

"We conduct monthly water sampling. We also conduct other surveys about invasive species. It's really important to continue that data collection."

With files from Angela Gemmill

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