by Cleone Todgham and Cecily Baptist
It’s been an active, noisy Spring at Mossom Creek as hundreds of students experienced nature directly.
“I found the spleen!” (Grade 11 student, while dissecting a salmon)
“Uh, things inside the slimy ball are moooooving!” (Grade 2 student, while using hydroscope to watch a salamander egg mass)
“Male and female parts in one slug! Yuck!” (Grade 7 student, while watching a slug crawl up their arm)
This year marks the beginning of an expanded Mossom Creek education program, utilizing the new facility and resources to provide “nature immersion learning” to a wider population. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from BC Hydro and generous ongoing support from the Port of Vancouver, Cleone Todgham was hired to develop and implement a series of programs for youth of all ages. The year exceeded all expectations with some 850 students participating in this spring’s sessions:
● 32 School and youth group programs
● 1093 students, teachers, and parents
● 250 students used a self guided program, offsite.
These grants enabled a team to develop and offer activities and more programming that directly engage students in hands-on learning. Activities included: salmon dissection, insect cataloging, blind walks, scavenger hunts (we have 7 species of ferns on the property), role playing, an overnight program, and much much more. The activities are specifically designed to link with B.C.’s curriculum guidelines and are adjusted according to the grade level of each group.
The success is due to a team of great people: Ruth Foster, Rod MacVicar, Tracy Green, Neil Laffra, Pat Dennett, Peter and Diana Hiebert, Jonathan and Michael Barnes, Jennifer Madoc-Jones, Pam Blackman, Paulette Strim, Mel Steemson, Scott Ducharme (DFO), Sandie Hollick-Kenyon (DFO), Terri-Mae Galligos.
A highlight was the direct involvement of teachers and parents in the activities which helps extend the learning as students return to their classrooms. For instance one class established a baseline study of aquatic insects with the intention of continuing the study in future years.
A busy, hectic, and extremely successful season; requests are already coming in for the fall program. Meanwhile Cleone is expanding the list of activities offered at the Hatchery. She is also developing additional off-site, self guided activities so that more students can benefit from ‘nature immersion’ learning. Activities for ‘teaching’ teachers is also important and the team is hoping to fund a professional development day workshop for next year.
One reason this season was successful is that the programs were offered at an inexpensive price, so continued funding support is critical; something else the team is working to ensure.
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