Rossland Summit School primary students in kindergarten through Grade 3 experienced a half-day field trip in the outdoors to learn about the winter season delivered by Wildsight as part of the BC school curriculum.
Wildsight’s Winter Wonder program connects students with the joys, secrets and marvels of our Kootenay winters. During a half-day field trip, they explored winter wildlife, snow science and weather.
Professional Wildsight environmental educator Jess Williams dressed as Frosty Flake — a snowflake — for the program she has been delivering at the school.
Williams describes the program as a “reminder to students that there is more to winter than just snow and cold temperatures.
During the field trip, students learn about wildlife and how they cope during winter, how snowflakes are born and how trees and plants prepare for winter. The students learn all of this while playing awesome games and doing fun activities outside. It’s a really great program.”
The Grade 1 class experienced how animals adapt in the winter. Students looked for animal tracks in the snow and they received booklets showing animal tracks of various animals.
They learned about where animals live, whether the animals make physical adaptations such as camouflaging themselves in the winter, how they hunt for prey, change routine, if they hibernate, migrate, or stay put. Students then looked for mouse houses in the snow.
Students also conducted a snow study with a magnifying glass, studying the snow formations and different types of snow crystals.
“I have learned how to use a magnifying glass and how to move it to look at snowflakes. I am enjoying learning about the snowflakes,” said Grade 1 student Hyde.
“Across Canada, kids are spending less and less time outside, creating what some refer to as a ‘nature deficit,’” said Monica Nissen, Wildsight’s Education in the Wild program manager.
Winter Wonder gets them out there, connecting them with the winter ecology in their own backyards,” Nissen explains.
“Research shows that outdoor play during the winter actually builds the immune system, stimulates the imagination and promotes problem solving. Kids who bundle up properly and play outside in the winter are generally happier and healthier.”
Almost 4,000 students throughout the Columbia Basin will experience the magic of winter ecology through these Wildsight programs. With nearly 160 field trips booked so far, this year is shaping up to reach the most students yet.
These field trips have been made possible due to the financial support of the Columbia Basin Trust, Fortis BC, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, the North Face Explore Fund and the BC Gaming Commission.