Students at the Chief Mistawasis School developed a closer connection to the land through a travelling education project.
The Prince Albert Model Forest group has been traveling around the central region of Saskatchewan, working with schools in partner communities to plant seedlings and educate students about wildlife in the forest. The group visited the Mistawasis students Friday for an education and tree-planting session made possible by a partnership between the Prince Albert Model Forest, the Saskatchewan Forestry Association, and Carrier Forest Products.
“They enjoy the hands-on part. They get to feel the needles, feel the cones. They get to learn about forest fires. They get to play with things,” said Sarah Schmid, general manager of the model forest.
Schmid taught the Mistawasis students about the differences between each species of tree and discussed wildlife in the forest. While the education part is fun for the kids, she said they always enjoy planting the trees most of all. Schmid said she hopes to see kids engaging in more outdoor educational activities, and she's finding ways to do just that. She said the model forest has been approached by several communities to help develop more land-based educational programming.
She said the model forest is putting roughly 1,000 trees in the ground over six days of planting with area schools.
Chief Mistawasis School Principal Donna Autet said the school started introducing more land-based programming in the last year, with excellent results.
“This is the area that Chief Mistawasis chose for us,” Autet said. “I think this is really important for them to give back to the community by planting trees and making our community look nice.”
The Grade 4 students tried planting trees in the schoolyard last year, Autet said, but it didn't work out as infant saplings are too fragile. This year, she said students planted trees in an empty patch of land close enough to the school so they could monitor the plants, but far enough away they couldn't come to accidental harm.
“We can even get the water truck out here,” the principal said.
Going forward, she said she'd like the Grade 4 students to plant 200 trees in the community every year.
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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