Students participating in outdoor field trips, using the funding from the Education Grant, have learned the importance of protecting our environment. Thanks to the donation from Edmonton Community Foundation, Nature Calgary has been able to support schools in Calgary in their effort to give students the opportunity to participate in a variety of learning experiences. Here are some testimonies of past events:
Ernest Morrow – 2018
The grade 6 students of Ernest Morrow went to Fish Creek Park. They had a guided hike of the park with the intent to offer a natural world experience for students that reflected the outdoor field study components of Topic E: Trees and Forests from the grade 6 Science curriculum. The focus was on the importance of preserving areas such as these and connect students with their natural world.
Ascension of Our Lord – “Riverwatch” – 2018
On May 11, 2018, our grade 9 classes (135 students) participated in a one-of-kind science field study. The RiverWatch Science Program transports students in large, inflatable rafts to study water quality along a section of the Bow River. The rafts are floating laboratories equipped with science kits to sample water chemistry and collect aquatic insects.
The focus of the RiverWatch trip day was to determine the environmental health of the Bow River by comparing conditions above and below the Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant. The upstream test site provides baseline data for analyzing the downstream impacts of treated wastewater or storm water. Students powered the rafts and collected all the science data. Also a tour of the wastewater treatment plant was part of the day’s events.
The program helped the students to focus on the personal impact that we all have on the health of Alberta’s water. The overall results of our tests was that we have a fairly healthy water system. Many students thought this was surprising since the river is located so close to an urban centre like Calgary.
James Short Memorial School – Leighton Art Centre
Through this activity, every child created a nature-inspired piece of art. They learned art-making techniques such as pottery, watercolour, and wire sculpture. The children were so proud of their creations! They also had opportunity to use their sketchbooks to record the wonderful landscape, birds and animals they encountered during their visit.
Of even greater value, in our opinion, was the children’s opportunity to explore nature at the Leighton Art Centre. As one of our teachers commented, “I was so surprised that many of my students had never seen the mountains before. This was the first time many of them had ever played in a forest. This experience generated many emotions in my kids: from fear, to fascination, to absolute joy!” As a result of this field trip, we have seen a huge increase in our students’ interest in and caring about the natural world. It has spawned a number of inquiries throughout the year: our kids are investigating butterflies and bees, and planting gardens that attract insects, and exploring why grizzly bears are endangered.
Ascension of Our Lord – “Riverwatch” – 2017
On May 5, 2017, our grade 9 classes (114 students) participated in a one-of- kind science field study. The RiverWatch Science Program transports students in large, inflatable rafts to study water quality along a section of the Bow River. The rafts are floating laboratories equipped with science kits to sample water chemistry and collect aquatic insects.
The focus of the RiverWatch trip day was to determine the environmental health of the Bow River by comparing conditions above and below the Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant. The upstream test site provides baseline data for analyzing the downstream impacts of treated wastewater or storm water. Students powered the rafts and collected all the science data. Also a tour of the wastewater treatment plant was part of the day’s events. With the continued construction and upgrades happening at this site, the students had limited access to the plant.
It was a great day and the weather cooperated. The program helped the students to focus on the personal impact that we all have on the health of Alberta’s water. The overall results of our tests was that we have a healthy water system. Many students thought this was surprising since the river is located so close to an urban centre like Calgary.
F.E. Osborne School – Weaselhead Natural Area Field Trip
All five grade 8 classes from F.E. Osborne school spent the day at the Weaselhead/Glenmore Park as part of “Fresh and Salt Water Systems” unit of the science curriculum. The trip was led by instructors from the Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society who provided valuable knowledge about the Elbow River and the park. The main focus of the day was to use chemical and biotic tests to examine differences in water quality between sampling sites within the park. There was also lots of time to discuss and look for evidence of the effects of human activity on the flora and fauna of the park. For some of the students it was their first visit to the Weaselhead Park and many of them expressed a desire to return with their parents. The trip gave them a greater appreciation of the need to preserve water quality in the Elbow River and we followed this up in class with a project looking and changes in the river as it flows out of the mountains before joining the Bow River.
Banting and Best School – “Surviving the Seasons”
Today our Grade One students at Banting and Best school participated in the ‘surviving the seasons’ program at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. We began our day with a nature walk through the property guided by our very knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide Jackie. Students observed and inquired about the signs of animal presence in the area, such as trees with beaver markings and magpie bird nests.
We were fortunate enough to watch a robin begin building her nest; two deer camouflaged in distance, lastly many ducks and geese that have returned from their migration.Next we learned about the many different ways animals survive the seasons in the Nature Classroom. Students were fully engaged while Jackie shared her extensive knowledge about migrating, hibernating and adapting animals. Our Grade Ones then participated in five stations including real animal artifacts related to their adaptations for students to observe closely. Concluding our day students took their sketch books back outside to draw our surroundings. Luckily for us a few geese decided to remain fairly still while our excited seven year olds documented their presence.
Thank you very much Nature Calgary for giving our students the opportunity to learn about how the changing seasons effect the animals around us.
Alex Munro – “What’s the buzz about?”
Students from Alex Munro’s Garden Club are now able to answer after their fabulous field trip to the Chinook Honey Company on May 11, 2016.
We started our visit with a picnic overlooking fields of dandelions and busy honeybees. Liam, our enthusiastic and engaging presenter, then talked to the children about bees, biology, hive structure and how they make honey from nectar and pollen with their bodies, aka bee spit! He also took apart a commercial hive so we could see the different structures and learn about their functions.
After Liam’s fact-filled presentation, the grade 3 to 6 students looked for the queen bee in a very active live display hive, constructed their own colourful honeycomb, tried on a beekeepers hat, and learned how honey is extracted from the comb. Also, much to everyone’s delight, we tasted different kinds of honey. The favourite was alfalfa, and dandelion was popular. However, the strong, dark buckwheat honey furrowed some brows.
Thank you to Nature Calgary for a wonderful and impactful opportunity. The children and adults learned so much and had great fun. One grade 4 student was overheard proclaiming that this was the most fun he has had in school all year! Most importantly, the children are aware of the importance of pollinators in our urban habitats and are better prepared to create and protect healthy bee habitats.
St Isabella School – Ralph Klein Park
Hello Nature Grants Calgary! Today all the kindergarten students from St. Isabella spent the day at Ralph Klein Park using the grant money from you! We had a wonderful day exploring and learning about the wetland habitat there. We had been doing a bird inquiry in class prior and were able to see many types of birds there today. We especially enjoyed the swallow nests.
Learning about how the park is designated for cleaning the rainwater before it re-enters the Bow river was very interesting! Thank you so much for helping provide us a valuable day of learning.