Education

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BC Kids Granted Opportunities for Outdoor Learning Victoria –The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced it will provide over $66,000 for BC schools to get their students out of the classroom and into the outdoors. Their aptly-named GO (Get Outdoor) Grants will be used to pay for bus transportation, project materials and program fees to provide hands-on outdoor learning experiences for more than 4500 students. The North Okanagan Shuswap School District was one of many school districts across the province who will be benefitting from GO Grants this spring. In total, 5 of the District’s schools plus an additional 10 classes through a district-wide grant will receive just over $7700 for outdoor, environmental education field trips, including some of the following: Armstrong Elementary’ s grade 4 and 5 classes will visit Kingfisher Interpretive Centre to learn about salmon and salmon habitat Salmon Arm West Elementary’ s grade 2/3 and 4/5 classes will be getting out on the Shuswap River to explore life along the river and conduct local indigenous plantings Shuswap Middle School class of grade 6/7 will be going to Norfolk Wild Regional Park to investigate and measure biodiversity in the park Hillcrest Elementary grade 2/3 classes will take a trip Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park to examine plants and animals in the ecosystem Now in its fourth year, demand for HCTF’s GO Grant program has steadily increased, and requests for grants now exceed the amount of funding available. HCTF received over 150 applications in its February intake, 68 of which were approved. HCTF Education Manager Kerrie Mortin hopes the amount of funding available can be increased in future years. “Costs such as bussing, program or leader fees, and outdoor field equipment are huge barriers for many classes here in BC,” says Mortin. “GO Grants are relatively small amounts of money that can make a huge difference to whether or not a class can experience outdoor learning. HCTF believes this is one of our most important investments for our future, and so do educators:” Teachers who have used the grants to take their classrooms on outdoor learning field experiences report that this type of learning has huge benefits. “Fieldtrips are a fantastic learning experience for children,” says Nuala Powers, a kindergarten teacher at Sacred Heart School in Prince George. “There’s only so much you can show them or read about in the classroom. But when they go out in the environment and really experience it, it’s fantastic for them.” Kim Fulton, a retired teacher and administrator, agrees. "Through these grants, children learn about the diverse ecosystems in BC,” says Fulton. “They develop a stewardship ethic to look after these systems and all the critters and plants in them for future generations.” Since the program’s inception in 2012, GO Grants have allowed more than 25,500 BC students to get outdoors for a total investment of $333,067. The average cost per student is $13.   About the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) Since 1981, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has provided more than $160 Million in project funding to more than 2,000 conservation, restoration, enhancement, and educational projects across BC. HCTF believes that the key to the future of conservation is investing in education. GO Grants is just one of HCTF’s Education program areas which also includes WildBC, a long-running and successful program that has been providing and supporting educators with environmental education programs and resources for over 25 years. For more information, contact: Kerrie Mortin 250-940-9787 Manager, Education Programs Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation http://hctfeducation.ca/go-grants/    ...
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South Park School Shares Their CEAF Story We received this wonderful video from South Park Family School in Victoria, BC, showing us how they used their CEAF grant to get students outdoors and experiencing nature.  Thanks to teacher Kathy Inglis for putting this piece together: it looks like the students had a fantastic time, even in the rain!     The Conservation Education Assistance Fund (CEAF) is HCTF’s newest granting program, developed to assist BC educators in getting their students outdoors and learning in and about the environment. CEAF grants cover transportation, field leader and project material costs to facilitate hands-on learning about nature. Field studies and projects funded include creating school yard wildlife habitats, exploring local watersheds and wetlands, inventorying forest and marine ecosystems, and conducting marine and freshwater surveys. Since the very first grants were awarded in 2012, the CEAF program has supported over 5,000 students in experiential learning outdoors. Interested in applying for a CEAF grant for your school? The next application deadline is February 15, 2014: see here for further details.    ...
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Experiential Learning at Hakai Students in the remote village of Hagensborg, BC rarely get to connect with learning opportunities outside the Bella Coola Valley. But thanks to the fundraising efforts of teacher Sara Germain, fifteen lucky students from Sir Alexander Mackenzie School got the chance of a lifetime to travel to the Hakai Beach Institute for a week of hands-on, ecosystem-based learning in a spectacular coastal environment. Here’s Sara story about how an HCTF CEAF grant helped her students connect with the outdoors and bring classroom concepts to life: "Students in BC's Science 10 focus a quarter of their curriculum on the sustainability of life's ecosystems, so this week-long field trip was designed to solidify many of the concepts learned in the classroom relating to ecology, evolution, food webs, humans impact on ecosystems, climate change and more.  I've found that when studying for their Provincial Exam, students who’ve been on this trip are much more successful at applying these concepts because they can connect questions with ideas they 'lived and applied' out in the field at Hakai.   Upon arrival, we did an intertidal species scavenger hunt to introduce students to the new ecosystem they would be exploring for the week.  The next day, we hiked up to the lookout, which took us from an intertidal zone, through different forest ecosystems, all the way up to a subalpine bog. Students took pictures of different plant species along the way to start their week-long "Digital Species Project"; where students photographed and identified 50 different species (intertidal, plant, bird, mammal species) and used them to create PowerPoint presentations complete with Latin names, common names, location of organism, and more.  Students spent about an hour a day in the intertidal zone working on this project, as well as time in the classroom compiling their data. Another outdoor project involved collecting different species of seaweed and pressing them.  When specimens were dry, students framed their "works of art" and identified the types of seaweed they had pressed. We did a “caboose activity” during one of our hikes, where I would teach the student hiking behind me about a plant or aspect of forest ecology, and then that student would teach the concept to everyone hiking behind them as they passed by their "station".  Students really owned and learned their 'stations' well! Later in the week, we registered for "The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup" and did a longer day hike along a number of pocket beaches; we carried out garbage and documented it with the organization upon our return.  This same day, the students also made their own trail maps, including an interesting geological/biological feature along each section of the trail. They turned out beautifully!  During our week at Hakai, students had the opportunity to learn from and work with a number of professional scientists.  One gave an outdoor presentation and tour of the sustainable infrastructure featured at Hakai Institute (water, power generation, waste treatment, etc).   An archaeologist talked to the students about his work, then took us out in boats to observe an actual dig site.  A biologist took us on an intertidal zone beach walk, showing us many new species we’d missed on our own.  Another scientist showed the kids how to collect samples of plankton, and later took them back to the lab to identify the different species under the microscope.  All of these encounters allowed the students many informal opportunities to chat about their careers and how they got to where they are today. I have found that taking my students out to Hakai has been one of the most beneficial and rewarding teaching experiences of my career.  It's given me the opportunity to develop many hands-on outdoor activities for students that give them real-life, applied knowledge in the Prescribed Learning Outcomes outlined by the province.  Beyond that, I have found this trip invigorates students' passion for science, develops their skills as budding scientists, exposes them to what a career in science can offer at its best, and lets them learn by osmosis while having so much fun in a unique place on Earth that normally they would never have the opportunity to be exposed to.”  In 2011 HCTF created the Conservation Education Assistance Fund (CEAF)...
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CEAF Grants $46,000 to BC Schools for Outdoor Field Studies HCTF approved 33 CEAF grant requests in its February 2013 application call, providing over $46,000 in funding to British Columbian K-12 classes and schools. The Conservation Education Assistance Fund (CEAF) is HCTF’s newest granting program, developed to assist BC educators in getting their students outdoors and learning in and about the environment. CEAF grants cover transportation, field leader and project material costs to facilitate hands-on learning about nature. Field studies and projects funded include creating school yard wildlife habitats, exploring local watersheds and wetlands, inventorying forest and marine ecosystems, and conducting marine and freshwater surveys. Since the very first grants were awarded in 2012, the CEAF program has supported nearly 5,000 students in experiential learning outdoors. CEAF’s next grant application deadline is September 15, 2013. Currently, the program is in a 2 year pilot to work through logistics and identify future funding needs....