2021 Antler River Race Recap!

Sunny skies and warm fall weather greeted our Antler River Racers as they ventured along the river to complete challenges and learn about their local ecosystem. 

Participants took to the winding shores of Deshkan Ziibi on Saturday, October 2nd for this year’s Antler River Race, our annual social media-based scavenger hunt. 

(Left: Team Mccallum, Centre: Team Langford, Right: Team Vashist)

The early October weather proved ideal for exploring and discovering wildlife after flood conditions in the previous week led us to reschedule the event.

Baketigweyaang (London) is located in between 2 ecological zones or ecosystems - the Great Lakes St-Lawrence and the Carolinian. This overlap of ecosystems gives us the opportunity to see rare and unique species found almost nowhere else in Canada, such as the spiny softshell turtle, and the tulip tree.” said Julien Robertson, our Education Coordinator in London.

(Top Left: Team Big-Canoe, Top Right: Team Conrad, Bottom: Team Kaminska)

Goldenrod’s fall blooms had participants keep their eyes peeled for evidence of gall flies, a prized bait for ice fishing!

(Left: Team Meyer, Top: Team Big-Canoe, Bottom: Team Langford)

Isn’t it neat we can find these iconic species in our city?

(Left: Painted turtle - Team Conrad, Right: Snapping Turtle - Team DeLeary)

Garbage is an ongoing issue along the shores, but many teams showed their passion for keeping our waters clean by participating in the litter cleanup challenge!

(Top: Team Sowerby, Bottom left: Team Kerr, Bottom Right: Team Bastien)

Below is team Kaminska with impressive stone skipping skills. In a lot of other languages skipping stones is named after its resemblance to aquatic animals moving on the water, for example: Fiskesprett or fish bounce” in Norwegian, puszczanie kaczek or “letting the ducks out” in Polish.

Water expresses itself in many different ways: carving out paths, overcoming obstacles and shaping its environment. Participants were invited to honour the river with their own creativity by using found materials to make natural art sculptures and collages. When you really think about it, water is creative, and so were these participants! 

(Top: Team Helmer, Bottom: Team Kaminska, Right: Team DeLeary)

The final challenge of the day invited participants to reflect on their own relationship with the watershed and write a short letter to the Antler River. Teams expressed their gratitude for the river and reflected on its importance to the London community, and future generations.

“Miigwech Ziibi, for providing my family with lots of beautiful creatures and places to explore. Things we most enjoyed today were seeing the Heron, dragonflies, ducks, turtles, toads and minnows. We hope to continue to visit you in the future days, months and years to come. We hope that others love and respect you as we do, to help keep you strong, clean and healthy. Miigwech, Canadian Freshwater Alliance for putting this Antler River Race event together again and giving us a reason to spend together outside as a family, ” said Team DeLeary.

We were so happy to see everyone progress throughout the day. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us! We love seeing Londoners building memories alongside Deshkan Ziibi and engaging with nature in their local parks. We hope to see you all next year!

Did you know the Antler/Thames River watershed is one of the largest watersheds in the Lake Erie basin and contributes 30 percent of the phosphorus to Lake Erie that is coming from Ontario? 

We're calling for an updated timeline on when the Ontario government will act on tackling the phosphorus loads in the Lake Erie watershed. Please take one minute to add your voice today.