Three schools in School District 27 have been chosen as recipients of Wild School funding provided by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.
The foundation is providing more than $62,000 for 25 B.C. schools selected to participate in its Wild School program.
Schools selected for the program in SD 27 include Marie Sharpe Elementary in Williams Lake, Horsefly Elementary, and 100 Mile House Elementary.
The three-year Wild School program provides teachers and students of Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools with free resources, training and support for environmental learning, outdoor field experiences and connections to conservation work in their communities.
Marie Sharpe principal Calvin Dubray is looking forward to beginning the program this fall, especially since it will coincide with the start of the school’s new Nature Kindergarten program.
“Our staff and students are currently engaged in place-based education and we are seeing deeper, richer learning happening,” Dubray says.
“We are excited about the additional opportunities and experiences the Wild School program will offer to enhance our outdoor learning initiatives.”
The Wild School program evolved from the successful Science in Action program that began in 2006. Science in Action was a single year program focused on providing K-8 teachers and schools with resources to support hands-on, active learning through science.
In 2012, Science in Action began the transition to the Wild School program, a multi-year model that incorporates healthy and sustainable initiatives toward connecting schools to nature.
HCTF education manager Kerrie Mortin says the Wild School program evolved from their experiences delivering Science in Action, and is supported by current research about the effectiveness of whole-school program models.
“One of the key elements of the Wild School program is professional development,” Mortin says. The shift from a one-day workshop model to providing multiple years of professional development opportunities — including workshops, mentoring, networking and support — has been shown to be more effective in helping teachers build capacity and transform their teaching and learning, leading to better outcomes for students.”
Over the past nine years, the Wild Schools and Science in Action programs have helped 3,500 B.C. teachers in 267 schools provide hands-on environmental learning experiences to over 72,000 students.
Since 1981, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has provided more than $160 million in funding to more than 2,000 conservation, restoration, enhancement, and educational projects across B.C.
HCTF believes that investing in education is key to the future of conservation. The Wild School program is just one of HCTF’s Education program areas; they also offer GO Grants to cover transportation and programming costs for getting students learning outdoors and Connect to Conservation, a forum to connect the education community with on-the-ground conservation work.