Greenways Land Trust is celebrating the ongoing success of its work with local school groups, while also looking for more opportunities to increase stewardship education in our youth.
The organization’s stewardship programming has continued to be in high demand, according to community engagement coordinator Josie Simpson, despite the wild winter months we’ve seen in the region.
But thanks to some recent grant funding, they have more capacity now than ever to expand their youth programming and get more of our community’s kids out into nature and learning how to be good stewards of our environment.
“We have a lot of teachers we work with regularly, which is great, but there’s definitely room to add more classes in,” Simpson says.
While there are some teachers who sign up to do major projects with their classes, like Grade 4/5 teacher Lisa Walls at Georgia Park Elementary, who took advantage of Greenways’ expansive expertise to rehabilitate a forested area near the school, the organization is more than happy to just take some kids out into nature for a short period, as well.
“We get some teachers who are just interested in doing one field trip with us for a whole year, which is totally fine,” Simpson says. “It’s still super valuable and memorable for the kids. It could be as in-depth as a whole year-long project or as small as one outing with a new ‘science person’ they don’t know who takes them on a cool journey for an hour.”
And the topics, while all being nature-based, obviously, are pretty wide open, as well.
“We’re able to be pretty flexible,” Simpson says. “Most of our funding is through Junior Streamkeepers, so for most of the activities we do, I have certain activities that are funded and approved through that project and meet funding goals – things like marking storm drains that we’re doing right now or the streamside planting we’re doing next month. So if you want to do those kinds of things, you can just basically put your hand up and say, ‘Yes, please.’”
But if there’s a teacher out there who wants to learn more about air quality or exploring the foliage in the Beaver Lodge Lands – or even the area around immediately surrounding their school – “we can accommodate those types of requests thanks to recent grant funding from the city and the fact that we got a cheque from the 100 Women Who Care last year,” Simpson says. “We can work with whatever topics someone wants their kids to learn about. That’s one of the really fun things about Greenways. We have so many different experts, not only within the office but also amongst our volunteers. We can find an expert within our ranks on just about anything who is really keen to share their knowledge.”
So if you’re a teacher who wants to get your students out into nature – whether that’s once for an hour or for a full-on rehabilitation project – get in touch with Greenways by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the office at 250-287-3785.