Classroom with Outdoors invites environmental explorations

You can almost hear an audible sigh if you stop and listen: the collective release of tension from every teacher, administrator, education assistant, and parent as a full year of COVID teaching comes to a close across B.C.

In a year of uncertainty, nature was a source of peace and security like never before. This school year through Wildsight Education programs, almost 200 classes and nearly 3,500 students stepped out of the traditional classroom to learn instead from the trees and the plants, from the wild animals and the changing seasons.

Wildsight’s Classroom with Outdoors encourages classes to experience hands-on outdoor learning. Educators guide students from Grades 4-7 through their wild backyards with day-long field trips to local grasslands, wetlands, or forests.

“It’s a time for them to get outside and play and explore,” reflects Wildsight educator Jess Williams, based in Rossland. “Without them even knowing it, they’re truly learning so much about their natural world.”

This year, Williams ran Classroom with Outdoors programs in the greater Trail region.

For some students, these field trips are an opportunity to experience something totally new.

“I had one student tell me, as we were walking along a trail, that it was the first time in her life that she’d been on a hike,” recalls Williams. “You realize these programs bring opportunities to students that don’t normally get them.”

Teachers agree, reflecting that Classroom with Outdoors turns students towards developing their skills in nature, and gets kids thinking about how to protect the environment around them.

We’d like to thank the Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation, Consecon Foundation, the Government of Canada, Keefer Ecological Services Ltd., Kimberley & District Community Foundation, the Osprey Foundation, Teck Trail, the Province of British Columbia, Copernicus Education Products; and all of our individual donors for making this program possible.