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In the Sunlight: Parks Canada — Environmental science and conservation education and communication

Educating the public about the country’s natural and cultural heritage is a big part of Parks Canada’s mandate. Parks Canada’s science and conservation web section tackles this educational role through story-telling, interactive maps, videos, photos, and more. It describes the agency’s work in protecting species, habitats, and ecosystems in national parks and historic sites across the country.
For Parks Canada, environmental education means asking imaginative questions like What is it like to be bat? and What animals migrate the farthest?It means getting involved in conservation with hands-on volunteer opportunities such as BioBlitzes. And it means sharing scientists’ stories from the field through the Parks Insider page.

For teachers who want to bring the wild into the classroom, there are videos and photos on the wildlife webcams and remote cameras page. Parks Canada’s story map gives a bird’s-eye view of its conservation and restoration work. Citizen science is essential to the agency’s efforts: Parks people know that small acts of discovery and conservation can make a big difference.

Parks Canada emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach and the importance of working with partners such as communities, volunteers, and Indigenous knowledge holders.


Parks Canada Resource Conservation staff performing maintenance on a weather station at Tanquary Fiord, Quttinirpaaq National Park, Nunavut. / Des membres du personnel de conservation des ressources de Parcs Canada effectuent des travaux de maintenance sur une station météorologique située au fjord Tanquary, parc national Quttinirpaaq, Nunavut.

Parcs Canada — éducation et communication
relatives à l'environnement : « Sciences et conservation »

Une grande partie du mandat de Parcs Canada consiste à éduquer le public au sujet du patrimoine naturel et culturel du pays. La section « Sciences et conservation » du site Web de Parcs Canada assure ce rôle éducatif par la présentation de récits, de cartes interactives, de vidéos, de photos et bien plus encore. On y présente le travail réalisé par l’Agence pour protéger les espèces, les habitats et les écosystèmes qui se trouvent dans les parcs et les lieux historiques nationaux à l’échelle du pays.

Pour Parcs Canada, l’éducation écologique veut dire poser des questions originales telles que Quel effet cela fait-il d’être une chauve-souris? et Quelles espèces ont la migration la plus longue? Cela veut dire s’impliquer en conservation en saisissant des occasions de faire du bénévolat comme avec les activités BioBlitz. Cela veut aussi dire diffuser des histoires de scientifiques sur le terrain sur la page Parcs en coulisse.

Pour les enseignants qui veulent amener la faune à leurs salles de classe, il y a des vidéos et des photos sur la page Webcaméras et caméras de télésurveillance de la faune. La carte de récit de Parcs Canada donne une vue d’ensemble du travail de conservation et de restauration de l’Agence. La science citoyenne est essentielle aux efforts de l’Agence. Les gens de Parcs Canada savent que ce sont les petits gestes de conservation et de découverte qui font toute la différence.

Parcs Canada met l’accent sur une approche interdisciplinaire et l’importance de travailler avec des partenaires tels que les collectivités, les bénévoles et les détenteurs du savoir autochtone.


Au camp culturel BioBlitz de 2017 au parc national du Canada Tuktut Nogait (T.N.-O.), les jeunes Inuits ont appris des Aînés au sujet de leur territoire traditionnel. / At the 2017 BioBlitz Culture Camp at Tuktut Nogait National Park (N.W.T.), Inuit youth learned from Elders about their traditional land.


In the Sunlight: SaskOutdoors

SaskOutdoors (the Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Education Association) has been supporting outdoor and environmental education in Saskatchewan for almost 50 years! A Professional Growth Network (previously, a Special Subject Council) of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, over the years SaskOutdoors has hosted eco-tours, camping trips, conferences, workshops, courses, in-service training, and professional development opportunities. They have connected and partnered educators, lent equipment, and had a whole lot of fun! SaskOutdoors is currently working on strengthening their network by developing policies and procedures that will help them to grow effectively, adapt to change, and live out their mission and vision. SaskOutdoors is Saskatchewan’s longtime provincial coordinator for Project WILD, Project WET, Growing Up WILD, Flying WILD, Below ZERO, and WILD About Sports.  Each year they offer canoe certification courses, wilderness first aid courses, an eco-tour/nature retreat, opportunities to explore nearby nature, introductory canoeing and cross country skiing opportunities, and much more!

SaskOutdoors turns 50 in 2019. To celebrate, they are co-hosting the Action on Climate Change through Education Conference in partnership with the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM), and both the Sustainability Education Policy Network (SEPN) and the Sustainability Education Research Institute (SERI) at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. The Call for Proposals is open until January 15, 2019! — We hope you can join us in May!

For more information on SaskOutdoors visit SaskOutdoors.org.


In the Sunlight: Ontario EcoSchools

Ontario EcoSchools is an award-winning certification program that recognizes schools for environmental learning and action. Ontario EcoSchools nurtures environmental leadership in students and helps reduce the ecological impact of school communities. In 2017-18, 1,900 schools certified from 58 school boards, and approximately 1 million students were reached through activities and campaigns.
EcoSchools certification is widely adopted as a benchmark of environmental excellence within the education sector. EcoSchools supports participating schools and boards in their certification journey by providing professional development training, curriculum-linked resources, and grant opportunities.
At the heart of every EcoSchool is its EcoTeam. Students from K to 12 work with school staff to create a vibrant culture of conservation. The actions that EcoTeams take are as unique as the school communities themselves: a rural school may grow a pollinator garden, a northern school may ask its city council for better recycling, a downtown school may create a nature photography club. These collective acts add up to big impacts, both within and beyond school walls.

https://youtu.be/RJ-EXEIrwZI


In the Sunlight: Green Schools Nova Scotia

Green Schools Nova Scotia is a free environmental education program that promotes energy efficiency behaviours and reducing energy waste. Nova Scotia is home to Canada’s first energy efficiency utility, Efficiency Nova Scotia, which administers the Green School NS program. Efficiency Nova Scotia programs change the lives of Nova Scotians by saving energy which avoids 700,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually.

Green Schools NS provides learning opportunities in classrooms and communities across the province to help students of all ages understand that our everyday choices matter. The program is focused on energy efficiency while also supporting a wide range of sustainability efforts at over 280 schools. In 2017-18, the program has engaged with more than 22,000 students to encourage an efficiency-first mindset and inspire environmental stewardship. Hands-on and curriculum-linked program activities are suitable for a range of learning levels. A dynamic program team offers presentations and supports teachers by leveraging the expertise of an active network environmental organizations.

The program encourages everyone to take action, to change their behaviour, and to help the Earth. Green Schools NS facilitates the sustainability learning journey of students in a way that empowers students to become champions of sustainability.

Quotes from participating students & staff:

 “Thank you for the work that you are doing, visiting and helping schools to take better care of Earth. I think it’s important and wanted to say thank you for showing me what I can do!”

  • East Pictou Middle School, Grade 6 student

 “Thank for an informative presentation that supplements our curriculum!”

  • Sandra Hutchison, Coxheath Elementary

 “Great presentation. Getting info to kids at this young age is the way to go!”

  • Karen Mulloy, Grade 1 Teacher, Falmouth District School


In the Sunlight: Calgary Parks

Calgary Parks offers a wide-variety of environmental education programming, volunteer initiatives, and unique learning experiences to citizens of all ages. Provided opportunities promote ecological literacy by engaging citizens in the natural, historical, cultural, and recreational elements of Calgary's parks and green spaces.  Additionally, they encourage natural stewardship and sustainable decision-making by increasing citizen knowledge and understanding of their impact on their natural surroundings and teaching the skills of civic responsibility. Their belief is that by evoking an emotional connection to the environment, citizens’ desires to performing sustainable acts becomes a learned behaviour and a component of their daily lives. Click here to find out more!

 


In the Sunlight: Let's Talk Energy / Harnessing Sunlight

Left in the dark?

Energy is required for everything we do in our daily lives, even though we don’t always realize the services it provides. Let’s Talk Energy is an education initiative run by the Canada Science and Technology Museum that strives to enhance energy and climate awareness among Canadians to contribute to a sustainable energy future.

A key part of their programming each year is Talk Energy Week (February 17-24). In partnership with museums, schools, and environmental NGOs focusing on energy, programming this year focuses on the themes of clean technology and renewable energy in remote and northern Indigenous communities. Their website (talkenergy.ca) has energy games and resources for learners of all ages, including new climate change infographics for K-12 and lesson plans for Grades 7-10. This year connect with a livestream panel talk featuring Minister of Environment & Climate Change Catherine McKenna on February 13. Join the conversation online or help us to support your energy work throughout the week. Email coordinator Adam Young at ayoung@ingeniumcanada.org


In the Sunlight: Clean Foundation

Clean Foundation’s EnviroEd program brings a team of environmental superheroes, puppets and scientists to inspire kids and teens of all ages to become advocates for a sustainable future - a future that will be in their hands.

Younger children engage with interactive, puppet-centered theatre presentations, where humour, rhymes, and songs give them the tools and confidence to make a difference in their world. Clean Water and Clean Energy Schools give teachers and older children hands-on opportunities to explore innovative technologies and the impact their choices can make on the climate change challenge.

EnviroEd is much more than a special guest parachuting into a classroom – we challenge thousands of students every year to be true changemakers.

Not in Nova Scotia? Kids all over the world can play SuperEddie’s online enviro games on the computer or on mobile devices – just search “EnviroEddie: Air” in the google play or Apple app store. It’s a great resource for young children, families and teachers looking to explore the impacts of varying air quality and to introduce renewable energy sources to children’s lives – click here to learn more. (Coming soon in French!)

Educators, subscribe to our newsletter to stay in touch with Clean EnviroEd!


EECOM Reconciliation Committee

EECOM is forming a committee that seeks to provoke reconsideration of what it means for us to be outdoor/environmental educators and do outdoor/environmental education on Indigenous lands, especially in light of the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission Recommendations on education.

With a nation-wide focus, we hope this committee will create community with others engaged in this work, to share stories of best practice, strategize, vision and help each other to create change. We are looking for tangible outcomes of our coming together - ideas so far include written publication, surveys, regional or national gatherings in person and webinars. As EECOM board members hosting this committee, we’re looking also to be guided for our own internal organizational change by critical creative conversations and learning from the examples of others.

Want to be involved? 

Those interested may be in programming, school, parks, academic settings, etc. Add your name and email address to this form to keep updated on progress of the committee, and possibly be contacted for participation in a particular project. You might to also join the working committee if you are able to commit time in the coming year to do organizing. This is a committee of both EECOM board members and non-board members that will plan and host ways to gather folks and other projects.

The committee's work ties into the upcoming EECOM 2018 Classroom to Communities conference taking place at St. Eugene Mission Resort, the site of a former residential school that is now owned and operated by the Ktunaxa First Nation as a vehicle for education, reconciliation and economic development.

Click here to sign up.


Natural Curiosity

2nd Edition: A Resource for Educators
The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry

This resource offers educators a powerful way to engage their students in learning about their world. It provides a framework for environmental inquiry shaped by students’ questions and theories – their natural curiosity – as they explore their environment. The framework encourages educators to find their own ways to build upon children’s sense of wonder and to create a culture of community learning that is purposeful, responsive, and deeply engaging.

The second edition of Natural Curiosity supports a stronger awareness of Indigenous approaches to environmental learning. It offers an encounter with Indigenous perspectives that challenge us to think in very different ways about our place in the world. The Indigenous lens in this edition provides a starting point in a conversation that opens educators’ eyes to Indigenous perspectives as their students build lasting connections with the natural world.

New in the Second Edition:
• Revision of the four branches of environmental inquiry
• An Indigenous lens on environmental inquiry
• 15 new educator stories

It is now available to preorder. Click here for more information or to preorder. 


In the Sunlight: Earth Rangers

Earth Rangers is the kids’ conservation organization, dedicated to educating children and their families about biodiversity, inspiring them to adopt sustainable behaviours, and empowering them to become directly involved in protecting animals and their habitats.

With over 160,000 young members across the country in every province and territory, Earth Rangers is the largest conservation organization in the country by membership and the only environmental organization of their size, focused specifically on children and their families.  As members, children engage in fundraising activities for species conservation and participate in activities called Missions, like organizing shoreline clean-ups, planting pollinator gardens and conducting energy and waste audits at home.

Earth Rangers also visits over 850 elementary schools each year across Canada with an educational and inspiring live animal presentation about biodiversity and conservation in Canada.

This summer, Earth Rangers is celebrating Canada 150 with a new Mission and Bring Back the Wild Project to protect Moose.  To get involved visit www.earthrangers.com/canada150

For more information on Earth Rangers visit www.earthrangers.org