What do extraterrestrials, Earth’s ecosystems, and an energetic educator have in common? Wildsight’s Classroom with Outdoors program!
Classroom with Outdoors encourages students to experience hands-on learning in the outdoors. Professional educators lead classes from Grades 4–7 into their wild backyards with day-long field trips to local grasslands, wetlands or forests.
Wildsight educator Ayla Treadwell spent a day with Kristen Lewis’ Grades 3–6 class from Fernie’s Kootenay Discovery School this October. The students visited James White Park, situated on the banks of the beautiful Elk River.
The theme of the day was ‘exploring Earth’s systems’. Students put their imaginations to use as they pretended to be extraterrestrials traveling to earth for the first time, seeking to improve things on their home planet.
“We spoke about the interconnectedness of all systems on the earth and how they provide the perfect conditions for the living things that call this planet home,” shares Ayla.
The students learned a lot about ecosystem services (benefits to humans provided by the natural environment and healthy ecosystems) that allow us to survive and thrive, most of which we do not even consider even though we use them every day!
“These systems are interconnected, so we can’t pick and choose or separate which ones to keep. Instead, we need balance and healthy ecosystems that provide these services for all life on earth,” shares Ayla. “We all depend on a healthy planet.”
The students got to build a rocket ship and considered what things they would bring from earth to improve their home planet. They were also very interested in exploring the riparian area and were fascinated by all the recent beaver activity. And of course, they loved playing camouflage!
For Ayla, programs like this remind her of why she is an environmental educator. She loves to facilitate that connection between children and nature, and programs like Classroom with Outdoors provides the perfect opportunity for nature-based learning.
“We can only love what we know, and we will protect what we love. Getting students outside helps provide balance in a very technological world and fosters a deeper connection with themselves, our environment and each other.”
Wildsight thanks Columbia Power, Copernicus Education Products, Consecon Foundation, Keefer Ecological Services Ltd., the Kimberley Alpine Resort Community Summit Fund, Kootenay Co-op, LeRoi Community Foundation, the Osprey Community Foundation, the Province of British Columbia, Teck Trail, and all of our individual donors for making this program possible.