Wildlife Research Team events include scheduled activities such as cleanups, pleasant explorations of nature, and others, as well as customized events for those wishing to go canoeing with us at a time and place they desire.
Remember that our free Canoeing 101 class is required for any and all participants who will be in a canoe.
Upcoming and Recent Events
Citizen Scientist Scavenger Hunt and River Cleanup
Announcing WRT's first-ever Citizen Scientist Scavenger Hunt and River Cleanup, co-sponsored by Florida Atlantic University's Planning Society
Saturday, October 11, 2014
The North Fork of the New River, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Launch site: Rev. Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park, 2520 NW 6th Street (Sistrunk Boulevard), Ft. Lauderdale 33311; 954.357.8801 (please DO NOT call the Park to register for this event).
To register: you MUST contact me, Donna Kazo, at 954.474.8194 by Friday, October 10, 2014.
Space is limited! No more than 16 adult paddlers. However, children over the age of 7, with a parent, may be able to ride in the center of the canoe.
There is no fee to participate.
Beginners welcome; a brief version of our Canoeing 101 will be offered to teach you the basics.
You will be expected to show up on time, and to stay afterward to help clean your canoe and gear. Please call if you can't make it, to maybe allow another person to have your seat!
Community Service Hours available for students seeking them for scholarships (bring your school's form).
FAU's Planning Society will have a cookout for our volunteers (Thanks!).
This Is Not Your Ordinary Cleanup
WRT has been making the waters of Florida safer for wildlife since 1993, and has accomplished more waterway and coastal cleanups, using our own fleet of canoes, than I can remember! Our canoes have been paddled by some of the world's most awesome volunteers, for many purposes, not only for removal of marine debris from Florida's fragile habitat.
Now we are introducing a new program to more deeply engage and educate our volunteers as well as reward them beyond that wonderful feeling of knowing YOU made a difference.
We start with the basic tasks of scientists: the collection and recording of data. So, as we extract items of debris from the river, we will record a sample of each type on a list. Eventually, we will submit our data to NOAA's Marine Debris Program.
And just for fun, we're making it into a Scavenger Hunt!
Each canoe will hold a team of two paddlers; and each paddler of the team that finds the most items on the list, will win a nice prize.
This is the first of a series of seven events at the North Fork, running through April, so if you can't make this one, sign up for another! At the April event, we will have a Grand Prize (to be determined, but we want it to be really awesome). Feel free to volunteer for as many cleanups as your time allows! You can win more than once: it all depends on how many items you find on your list.
Proposed Dates (all either second or first Saturdays): October 11; November 8; December 13; January 10; February 7; March 7; April 11.
We are looking for sponsors to donate prizes, by the way! Perhaps you own a business and would like great PR for helping our nonprofit? Would you like to donate a gift card worth $20 or more?
Now here's a bit about the North Fork of the New River, which is an urban treasure and a refuge for wildlife. Our Scavenger Hunt list will also have a map and a list of wildlife and plants we may see. People love what they know.
The Lost River
I can still recall the excitement in Tom's voice as he unrolled a map and showed me what he called "a lost river" in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. That was back in 1999 or 2000... and today, the North Fork of the New River is still not widely known to residents and visitors.
Dr. Tom Kazo, in case you are new to WRT, was the primary founder of WRT and my soulmate and husband, who passed away in 2006. He was that rare combination of dreamer and doer: which is why our very first canoe was named "Do-er" and all of our tandem canoes are named along that line.
Back in 1999, this branch of the New River was in real trouble, due to decades of its misuse as a dumping ground for everything from circus elephant dung to engines to appliances to construction materials from the building of I-95 nearby; and if that wasn't bad enough, every day from 1962 to 1986, five million gallons of treated sewage were dumped into the North Fork. It truly was a lost river for many years.
But after more than a million dollars went into its salvation, dredging to remove toxic sludge, removal of exotic plants, replacement with native ones, and last but not least, countless cleanups beginning in 2001 by a dauntless partnership between Wildlife Research Team (we provided all the canoes at the beginning, along with guides, gear and volunteers), Florida Atlantic University (led by their Florida Atlantic Planning Society or FAPS), Broward Urban River Trails, South Florida Water Management District, and other organizations, schools, private citizens and community groups, the outlook for the North Fork is much brighter. We've even been graced with manatees in its noticeably clearer waters.
Having paddled it more times than I can remember, in my humble opinion, I have found it to be THE best canoeing route in Broward County! Two main reasons: gorgeous remnants of the Everglades, with massive pond apple trees, cypress and leather ferns providing habitat to wildlife along the banks (few seawalls); two, no boat traffic due to the low bridge at Broward Boulevard, so the 3.5 miles of the North Fork are much more peaceful and safe than the rest of the very busy New River.
It's still not widely known for its virtues because it's not very accessible; the only official canoe launch on the North Fork is at Rev. Samuel Delevoe Park. Otherwise, you'd have to put in at a marina south of Broward Boulevard.
There is an ongoing problem with trash finding its way into the North Fork... and this river runs to the ocean. And we know what happens then. Which is why I refer to its trash as "marine debris."
So our work will never be done, but that's fine with us! We love canoeing on this river. WRT is a Keeper of the North Fork, and when you volunteer for a cleanup, you are maintaining a magnificent legacy.
Yet, WRT was founded to do a lot more than "just" clean up waterways; "Research" is our middle name for a darn good reason. Read more about our specific purposes here.
I must repeat: due to the limited number of canoes, it's really important that you show up on the day of the event, and on time! Our goal is to fill all the canoes each time. If you're a no-call no-show, you will be placed on a waiting list for the next event, and can only participate if the 16 slots are not filled. Sorry to be harsh, but this is experience talking!
We look forward to grabbing a paddle with you!
Thanks so much for your interest in Wildlife Research Team,
Wildlife Research Team, Inc.
754.779.4668 WRT cell
Photo by D.M. Kazo: Can you believe this beautiful river is just a few blocks from downtown Fort Lauderdale?
Your Own Custom Canoeing Trip
Want to set up a trip with WRT? Contact us to discuss location, scheduling, and pricing.