SDSS STRIVE Students are Leaders in Stepping into Nature Festival

October 27, 2016

This month, the STRIVE students played an integral role in a community event that celebrated Burns Bog and its rich ecosystem.

STRIVE is a cross-curricular course for Grade 10 students where they will study English, math, physical education and science by exploring the natural settings of across Delta.

The Stepping into Nature Festival is a full-day, outdoor education program that gives elementary students the opportunity to learn about their environment in an outdoor setting. The goal of the festival is twofold: to reconnect students with their natural environments, and to support high school students develop leadership skills.

More than 350 grade 6 and 7 students “unplugged” for the day and spent a day out in nature.

The festival featured 10 stations within the Delta Nature Reserve and along Lower Cougar Creek with interactive and hands-on activities that linked curriculum outcomes to outdoor education. For a week, busloads of students arrived at the festival, with students from Delta and Surrey Schools in attendance.

STRIVE students took the lead and taught “mini lessons” at various stations in the Bog. The senior students lead groups through activities akin to being a Bog “tour guide.”

“As teachers of STRIVE, we are mindful of trying to be in nature as much as possible, whether we are outside for a curricular purpose, or just being outdoors for outdoors sake,” says Christine Oliver, educator in the STRIVE Program. “In this case, we got an opportunity to experience both. Most importantly, the idea of students mentoring and teaching students was incredible, as is the community-school connection—seeing adult volunteers passionate about their environment fosters a connection that learning in the classroom simply cannot do. Within this mentorship cycle, students are on the path to becoming stewards of nature.”

For the STRIVE students, many of their Science 10 learning outcomes would be addressed during their involvement in this festival as well as acquiring and/or adding to their leadership skills.
Local environmental organizations (The Cougar Creek Streamkeepers, Earthwise Society, Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society, and the Fraser River Discovery Centre) helped train and mentor the high school students in preparation for this event.

“Our vision is a future with environmentally connected and conscious citizens,” says the Burns Bog Society’s education coordinator Evelyne Young. “This can only be achieved once youth step away from their urban activities and technology long enough to realize the importance of protecting our most prized possession: nature.”

Eight hundred students from across the Lower Mainland were on a waitlist to attend the Stepping into Nature festival. The Burns Bog Society hopes to expand this education event in the coming years.