SD83 has Wild Schools Program!

SD83 has Wild Schools Program!

SD83 has Wild Schools. . . . but it’s probably not what you think!

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) Education’s Wild Schools program is a free, whole-school, three year initiative for K-8 schools supporting outdoor and place-based learning. An interdisciplinary, curriculum linked program, Wild Schools supports school communities to increase ecological literacy, outdoor field experiences and to build connections to conservation in the Community. It is focused on hands-on environmental learning and experiences to engage learners through a process of Wondering, Inquiring, Learning and Doing.

Currently there are five “Wild Schools” which are Len Wood Middle, Salmon Arm West, Sorrento, South Canoe, and North Shuswap. Armstrong Elementary School has completed the three year program and Bastion Elementary is starting the program in September 2022.

Molly Cooperman helps Salmon Arm West students with tree planting

The program also includes a HCTF Education facilitator to help the school with professional development for teachers, support classes on field trips and help tackle the projects. SD83 is fortunate to have three. Retired SD83 principal Kim Fulton (also known as Dr. Fish and a long-time environmental education advocate), retired school teacher Brenda Melynchuk (who taught at Haldane in Chase for many years and won environmental awards for her work through the SEEDS Foundation) and Molly Cooperman, (a local biology and environmental science major who is also a leader with the Adams River Salmon Society, Environmental Exchange Box Program, and Nature Kids B.C., was hired by HCTF when she returned to her hometown of Salmon Arm).

“To be honest Kim is a mentor to us both. He has done amazing work and has been involved since the formation of HCTF Education, which was 27 years or more ago,” commented Cooperman.

Year one of the program focusses on introducing, modelling and sharing hands-on instructional strategies and resources to support environmental learning in and about nature.

Year two of the program focusses on providing and supporting environmental learning and experiences outdoors.

In year three the focus is growing wild connections with nature through projects, experiences and community partnerships.

HCTF has several other programs which schools can access, including Go Grants (teachers can apply now for Fall field trips) and Environmental Exchange Box. GO or Get Outdoor Grants support outdoor biodiversity field studies or projects for K-12 classes in British Columbia. GO Grants cover transportation, project materials and or program fees to help teachers take their students outdoors to learn about and experience some of B.C.’s biodiversity. HCTF Education’s Exchange Box Program is a place-based learning program. Classes are paired up from around the province to explore, learn and share about the biodiversity of their local places and then share their learning with each other through a class to class exchange.

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