Students in Rossland spent a day learning a little more about the world around them last Friday.
The RSS Bio Blitz is a full-day outdoor event to celebrate environmental education and stewardship.
Students from Rossland Summit School and école des Sept-sommets came together to interact with community experts and learn about the place that they call home.
“We’re introducing the kids to all the names of the local flora and fauna, so they have the ability to go out and identify these in nature,” says Laura Jackman, the Grade 2 RSS teacher who has organized the blitz for the last three years. “They really get to know the flora and fauna around them.”
They do that through 14 different stations, teaching things from macro-invertebrates to watersheds, invasive species, native plants, and bats, birds and bees.
The students even had a yoga session on the playground field to help centre them to their environment.
Jackman says with so much bad news about the environment in the media these days, it’s important for students to have this opportunity.
“There’s a lot of doom and gloom attached to the idea of climate change, but as long as we’re instilling this sense of being able to take action and do something, then we’re all doing our jobs properly,” says Jackman.
“That’s why I think as educators it’s really important for us to instill them with a sense of action, that they can go out and do things — like getting to know the names of the species around them — that’s action, that’s doing something.”
Students also spent time upgrading and restoring the outdoor classroom. With the help of a $2,600 grant, they helped build two frames for raised garden beds, filling them with dirt and placing native plants in them.
“We find if the kids actually participate in the installation and building of them, then they’re much more likely to respect them,” says Jackman.
But the most lasting change coming from the bio-blitz is the change in attitude the kids have.
“I’ve had two kids come up and thank me for putting this on for the community,” she says. “And about half a dozen kids approach me at lunch asking where they can compost their waste, because they didn’t want it to add to the garbage.”