Brookside Boathouse receives award

Published 3:19 pm Saturday, June 16, 2012

Watershed District honors for efforts to improve natural resources

The Shell Rock River Watershed District recently awarded Community Education’s Brookside Boathouse a conservation award.

Chris Chalmers

The boathouse received the Urban Conservationist of the Year award for 2011 in recognition of conscientious efforts to help preserve and improve natural resources. Community Education Director Chris Chalmers said he appreciates the award and the work the watershed district has done.

“They valued our contributions to getting people engaged into our watershed,” Chalmers said. “Our instructors do a nice job of getting people into the water and answering questions.”

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Community Education instructor Scott Hanna said he was grateful for the recognition but that instructors aren’t teaching conservation for the accolades.

“We’re continually striving to improve the waterways and teach people that what they do has an impact,” Hanna said.

He said he’s glad the district is recognizing the educational efforts staff at the boathouse are making. When people borrow canoes or kayaks from the boathouse staff try to educate them about which areas of the water to avoid that are being preserved and also teach them Leave No Trace, an idea that people should leave behind an area cleaner than when they came.

“We’re really proud of all the different people who work within our organization who try to educate people,” Hanna said.

In 2011, almost 1,400 people visited Brookside Boathouse to use kayaks and canoes; Hanna said his goal had been 800 and he was glad they exceeded that number. So far in 2012 there have been almost 650 visitors to the boathouse.

The boathouse is open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays and from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays. New this year is geocaching and archery from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays. Also new is boating on Pickerel Lake from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sundays. Community Education sells punch cards for $25 that allow a person to do five different activities, including kayaking, archery, snowshoeing and more.

“We’re trying to keep the costs as low as possible and get the most people out enjoying the environment as we can,” Hanna said.

Community Education can be reached at 379-4834. For more information visit