In 2020, QRWA experienced the same rough waters as everyone else. Virus concerns halted most in-person activity, meetings went to Zoom and only a few at a time were allowed into our scrubbed Education center. We cancelled spring and fall river cleanups, and for the first time in almost forty years, the Quinnipiac Down River Classic canoe race. We did receive a grant from the Quinnipiac Fund submitted by Chris Sullivan of the Southeast conservation district; this allowed us to purchase river clearing equipment which was used to prepare for the race that never was. The pollinator habitat was cleared and re-established, and, respecting creative protocol, QRWA in partnership with Lyman Hall, began a manual eradication of aggressive Water Chestnut from Hanover Pond (over a ton of plants were removed by volunteers and disposed of by Meriden Public Works). With 2020 behind us, we look forward to a more productive 2021 with a return to our education program, paddling events, river cleanups, habitat restoration and advocacy for a restored Quinnipiac River.

David James
For over 10 years, the Kiwanis Club of Meriden members have been a dedicated group of volunteers who clear debris in the spring to open the butterfly & bee habitat and put it to bed in the fall.
From the onset, the B&B "garden" was established as a sanctuary for pollinators. This year, with the assistance of Master Gardener Liz Santamaria, we have begun revamping what was once referred to as the "garden" into a "habitat", which more accurately reflects our original objective. Liz is holding a Certificate of Appreciation acknowledging her commitment and dedication to the QRWA Butterfly & Bee Habitat, which was presented to her by QRWA Vice President, Ginny Chirsky.
The habitat has been on the decline for the past couple of years due to drought, aggressive weeds and lack of volunteers during the growing season. Plans for the spring include dividing the habitat into sections with defined pathways and replacing plants that were removed with additional perennials and plants native to the area for a true habitat environment. A great deal of labor and love went into the habitat this past spring and summer, and we extend our continued appreciation to QRWA member/volunteer and Advanced Master Gardener Becky Martorelli, for her dedication as caretaker and consultant for QRWA B&B Habitat.
On day one of our annual Water Safety Course, Quinnipiac University students had classroom instruction with members of the QRWA Paddle Committee before heading out onto Hanover Pond for paddle instructions.
Day two consisted of heading out to open water (this usually takes place in New Haven) to apply their new skills.
This is our 9th year of providing Water Safety and paddling lessons to Quinnipiac University students. Thank you QRWA Paddle Committee Members, Dan Pelletier, Mike Mordarski, Mike Wieloch, David James and Emily Picard for your dedication and committment to this program!
Cheshire High School Environmental Club Students identify their collection of "river bugs".
Maloney High School Students search for previously emplaced leaf packs as an experiment to identify macroinvertebrates to determine water quality.
An introduction to kayaking is a favorite among high schools students under our recreational portion of our environmental educational program.
Lyman Hall students lighten their buckets of water in order to carry back their samples of species for further anaylsis under the supervision of certified trainer and instructor Becky Martorelli.
Volunteers from our partnership with Trout Unlimited teach Nathan Hale 5th graders about the trout they are about to release into the Quinnipiac River. Nathan Hale participates in our  Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program.
Without a planned effort to remove it, European Water Chestnut, an invasive aquatic plant, would be inundating Hanover Pond and restricting activities such as fishing, paddling and overall wildlife observation. This plant forms thick mats over the surface of the water and restricts the amount of oxygen available. The seeds of Water Chestnut are viable up to 12 years, making it very important to prevent its spread.

Over a period of several months in 2020, students from Lyman Hall High School and a dedicated group of QRWA volunteers worked to remove the invasive plant from Hanover Pond.

Haley Jordan, Meriden resident and Ag Science student in the Vernon E. Cleaves Agricultural Science program at Lyman Hall, is working on mapping the extent of the Water Chestnut plant on Hanover Pond and documenting the removal progress. She developed this project as part of the UCONN Natural Resource Conservation Academy's Conservation Training Partnership program and for her Supervised Agricultural Experience project for her Wildlife Biology class. This project was made possible via a grant obtained by Lyman Hall Science Instructor & Wildlife Biologist, Emily Picard.
QRWA will remain vigilant with this endeavor to ensure continued use of Hanover Pond not only for our student paddling programs, but for all who enjoy its recreational benefits.
QRWA'S CANOE & KAYAK DOWNRIVER CLASSIC - The Longest Running Race in CT History!
A huge shout out to QRWA member/volunteer Dan Pelletier for coordinating and overseeing our kayak and canoe downriver classic for for the past 12 years, except for 2020.
It should be noted that several of the photos appearing in this article are representative of our 2019 events.
Thank you to all of our members and volunteers for your support in 2020. We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday and we are sending best wishes to all for a wonderful 2021!

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