Driven by the commitment of Wildlife Infometrics staff to environmental stewardship, wildlife, and community, we are conducting the Williston Schools Ecology Program – a grassroots project aiming to support and extend rural kindergarten to grade 12 education in the areas of science and outdoor learning. In a collaborative process with local teachers, we have developed and integrated age-appropriate modules which build on regular curriculum at every grade level. The content of these modules covers a variety of ecological topics, from food webs to forestry to fish life cycles, but all focus on highlighting local flora, fauna, and ecosystems.
The strength of this program is rooted in the support of our community. Volunteer experts and helpers aid us in preparing and delivering the in-class exercises and lessons, as well as the outdoor activities where students experience British Columbia’s great outdoors and apply their in-class learning to the physical environment. By connecting with local professionals from diverse fields such as forestry, biology, conservation and environmental monitoring, students are exposed to a broader range of career possibilities, and get a glimpse of the work that such professions entail. Our community partners from McLeod Lake Indian Band illustrate the First Nations dimension of ecological knowledge and stewardship through speakers, demonstrations of plant and animal uses, and traditional recipes.
As this program grows, we are working to extend to other rural communities in our region by supporting and mentoring education champions who want to use our program as a model for their own schools. This project is funded by local industries (Canfor, Conifex, McLeod Lake Mackenzie Community Forest), and the Peace Region Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program; the latter on behalf of its program partners BC Hydro, the Province of BC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, First Nations and Public Stakeholders who work together to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife impacted by existing BC Hydro dams.