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Outdoor learning: Professional development for teachers

By James Davis, Education Program Manager

June 2017

Our wonderful Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore and I had the privilege of facilitating six environmental education professional development workshops for teachers during the month of May.  The workshops took place in Fort St. John, Victoria and Surrey and covered topics such as building a routine to take your class outside regularly, connections to the new BC curriculum and conducting a risk/benefit assessment for an outdoor learning space.

Enjoying the woods. Photo by Nikko Snow.

The highlight of the workshops for many teachers was the time they got to spend outside. We put teachers in the role of students and led them through nature scavenger hunts, games of food chain tag, and other nature connection activities including “Sit Spot,” which allowed participants to sit quietly and observe (something many teachers commented that they rarely have time to do).

I really enjoyed these opportunities to get out from behind my computer and meet teachers face-to-face.  I was able to hear about the challenges that they face in trying to take their students outside during class time. Many of them also shared inspiring stories about the ways that they are helping young learners get outdoors and develop relationships with their natural surroundings.

We got great feedback from the teachers, with a vast majority saying they felt better equipped and more confident to take their students outside than they did before the workshop.

Looking forward to the 2017/18 school year, we are hoping to offer more of these Pro-D workshops and to collaborate with local teachers’ unions to make these opportunities available. Our goal is the work with these unions to institutionalize environmental education training for teachers, with the vision of having they types of Pro-D workshops offered to every teacher in the province by 2020.

If you are interested in having us visit your school district to facilitate Pro-D workshops this coming school year, please get in touch with me at james@sierraclub.bc.ca.

In the meantime, enjoy your summer and don’t forget to get outside!

Want to help us do more? We rely on donations to keep our programs free, accessible, and inclusive year after year. Please donate today to ensure they can stay this way.

Feature image by Navarana Smith.

Connections in the Peace

As I stood on the shores of the Peace River in Northern BC this past spring, I was reminded of the incredible diversity of land and water we hold here in beautiful BC.

Our children and future generations deserve to experience all of this amazing biodiversity. They deserve to know where they live and develop a connection to the place they call home. If we plan to nourish that connection then we must plan to protect it for the future. Children need opportunities to learn how they are part of this place so they don’t feel like they are separate from the rest of life that surrounds them.

As Sierra Club BC’s Environmental Educator for the past 3 years, my job has been to facilitate an opportunity for children to connect with nature in their home place.

Kirsten with Peace Valley farmer Arlene Boon.

This year I have had the pleasure of traveling to Fort St John and visiting the Peace River Valley during the fall and springtime.  My favourite experience was standing beside the Peace River and taking in all the scenery, then speaking with students about how they connect with the Peace and the surrounding area in the community of Hudson’s Hope.

Students shared with me their concerns about flooding and what will happen over the next few years to their home if the Site C dam goes ahead. Students and teachers spoke of the changes they have seen already within their community due to forest fires, the pine beetle infestation and the building of hydro dams. This has all caused changes to the river and the natural landscape.

Life along the river is getting tougher for these folks. Each day brings more challenges for holding onto the farms and forests, and of course their homes along the river. Learn how you can get involved in our campaign to stop the Site C dam and protect the Peace River Valley.

As I spent more time in Hudson’s Hope I soon realized that these students have a close connection to this place. They told me stories about their favourite experiences in nature: fishing, hunting, camping and snowmobiling in the area. Some kids travel quite a long distance to school each day and many spend their time helping out on their families’ farms along the river.

Kids in the Peace River Valley. Photo by Don Hoffmann.

One Grade 5/6 class took me to see a local forest they love to visit. This is a place they said, where “you can always see lots of deer.” Indeed, we saw lots of deer making an appearance in the forest and foraging for food after a long winter. I took walks with students to the toboggan hill near their school each day and we used that space to explore the variety of plants and animals by doing a fun and interactive nature scavenger hunt. I believe one of their favourite activities was rolling down the hill after our closing circle.

One thing I have become very aware of, no matter where you are in BC, is that finding as many earthworms as you can after a rain is truly a favourite activity!

The Peace River Valley holds a dear place in my heart. I send them lots of positive thoughts as the future of the river, the wildlife and the people are at stake with decisions to be made about the Site C dam. Help kids in the Peace protect the places they love – tell Trudeau to halt construction on the Site C dam.

Sierra Club BC’s K-8 environmental education programs delivered in classrooms across the province are all developed to meet BC curriculum requirements and connect kids with nature in their own community. I encourage you to check out our upcoming programs and keep connected to receive updates regarding fall registrations. This has been a very rewarding year for the education team with the hire of our new program manager and the success of our Climate and Place pilot program delivered in the CRD. I look forward to connecting with all of you in the fall. Enjoy a wonderful and relaxing summer in the great outdoors.

Donate today to help us reach more children next year!

Climate and Place: The Future is Here

By Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore

May 2017

This spring I have been busy with the development and facilitation of an exciting new pilot program. “Climate and Place: The Future is Here” is designed for middle school students in Grades 6-8.  In this workshop, students collaborate together to learn more about climate change solutions. It is based on Sierra Club BC’s vision document The Future is Here.

The Climate and Place workshop creates opportunities for students to critically observe and evaluate the behavioural patterns of individuals and communities in their home place, within the urgent context of climate change. Coast Salish teachings are entwined throughout the program using stories and cultural examples to facilitate discussion about taking care of the earth for future generations.

Ideas for reconnecting with nature from the Climate and Place program.

In this workshop students are provided an opportunity to voice their opinion on climate change in an open and respectful environment. They apply their knowledge and experience with their community to solutions that can address climate change impacts. They brainstorm ideas such as riding a bike or walking to school instead of getting a ride in a car, establishing and supporting recycling and composting programs in their school, and spending more time outside in nature.

My hope is that the Climate and Place program inspires and advocates for change, where necessary, in our school communities and local neighbourhoods.  During the experiential community walk, students make observations as they walk through their local neighbourhood and look critically at what they see happening in the context of climate change. Has anyone in the neighbourhood installed solar panels? Is there a recycling and composting program taking place? Are people growing their own food in backyards and community gardens?

The “Turtle Island” activity engages students in problem solving and encourages them to come up with possible solutions to major causes of climate change, such as old-growth logging and the fossil fuel industry. In one recent class, students stood on a tarp representing Turtle Island as climate problems were presented. They began to experience uncomfortable circumstances as the tarp became smaller and smaller. They had to stand increasingly closer and closer to one another. As students suggested their ideas for possible solutions, the tarp became larger and the people standing on the tarp became more comfortable with their surroundings.

“As we reduce our use of fossil fuels, reconnect children to nature and enforce sustainable harvesting practices in our forestry industry, we all here on Turtle Island will have a chance to continue to be healthy and happy.” – Grade 7 student

Students also really enjoyed the canoe journey activity. This is a facilitated discussion to help guide students to voice their opinion and make statements about how climate change is personally impacting their lifestyle and behavioral choices in their home and community.

“I learned today how we all play a role in creating an environment that will be sustainable through our choices such as how we travel to school each day or if we use plastic bags at the grocery store.” – Grade 7 student

“I never knew that spending time outside was so valuable and important in the fight against climate change and nature deficit in children in our society today.” – Grade 8 student

Overall, this program has actually been a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs. It can be challenging to get this age group to speak up and share how they feel about the environment within the urgent context of climate change. Some students feel that it doesn’t matter—that their opinions don’t count.

“No one ever listens to how we feel we should be taking care of the planet.”  – Grade 6 student

I also discovered how much it varies between communities in terms of how children are mentored to show concern for the environment.

“How can my school be more involved in reducing the impacts of climate change?” – Grade 6 student

“Why do we have a pack in/pack out rule for garbage at our school?” – Grade 8 student

Kirsten with students.

Every school is doing something. The biggest challenge I see within middle schools is how they can purposefully make the connection between their actions and the expectations they have for their students, nature and the climate. For some students, this was the first time they had ever heard about the reality of how climate change will impact our lives here in BC.

The reality is that climate change is happening and students need to become aware of their role and how they can play a part in creating solutions. They are the future and they must be given the opportunity to be mentored in protecting nature and spending time outside so they can learn how their actions will directly impact their future lives.

 

Resource List:

Sierra Club BC “The Future is Here” Document

  1. Stabilize our climate, by leaving fossil fuels in the ground, reducing our emissions and increasing the price on carbon.
  2. 2. Defend intact nature to preserve biodiversity and natural carbon banks, and protect the ecosystem services on which human economies and health depend.
  3. Rapidly transition to an equitable post-carbon economy that leaves no one behind.

Climate Change activities you can do with your students

Communities taking the lead on solar energy:

T’Sou-ke First Nation

Bear Lake Cree

 

 

Six ways you can make a difference for the environment this election

April 2017

It’s official—the BC election period has begun.

From now until Election Day, the rules make it difficult for Sierra Club BC to draw attention to issues you care about like the Site C dam, Kinder Morgan tankers and protecting old-growth forests.

That’s why we need your help more than ever to amplify these critical election issues. Here are six ways you can make a difference for BC’s environment this election:

  1. If you haven’t already, join our Facebook community and follow us on Twitter. Checking our news feed is an amazingly simple way to keep track of the issues you care about most and share them with your own network. We’ll be keeping close tabs on the news for you, and we’re hoping you’ll share it like you’ve never shared before!
  2. Talk to your friends, family and neighbours. Encourage them to get informed on the issues in your riding. Share what you know about how the Site C dam will cause their hydro bills to skyrocket to provide subsidies to oil and gas corporations. Voting is more fun together – make a plan with friends to walk to the polls together or offer them a ride to the polling station if you can!
  3. Attend an all-candidates meeting in your riding. Ask your candidates where they stand on the Site C dam and Kinder Morgan’s tar sands pipeline and tankers proposal. Find our team at meetings in Victoria, Esquimalt, Sidney, Vancouver and Tri-Cities.
  4. Volunteer with us! Right now, we need canvassers on the ground and on the phone helping to get out the vote. Contact galen@sierraclub.bc.ca to join our team.
  5. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper on the issue you care about most. Whether it’s supporting clean water, good green jobs, a livable climate, or keeping big old trees standing, you are in the best position to influence your own community by taking a stand.
  6. And of course, don’t forget to vote on May 9 or in the advance polls! (Not sure if you’re registered? Sign up here)

Elections come and go. Politicians rise and fall. Communities are here to stay, as is the natural world we depend on. And no matter who is in power after May 9, Sierra Club BC will continue working hard to defend the places you love. We hope you’ll join us.

Earth Day Challenge: Get outside and PLAY!

By Sierra Club BC Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore

April 5, 2017

Earth Day is coming up on April 22. What is your school community doing to celebrate during Earth Week?

Sunshine and Smiles. Photo by Terri Boizard.

Earth Week is a time to celebrate and join together to work toward sustaining and building healthy and vibrant communities. This year I invite every class to take part in a challenge to get outside and PLAY!  Play is an essential part to a child’s development and play-based learning leads to greater social, emotional and academic success. Play is how children explore the world around them. According to research conducted by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, “intentional play-based learning enables children to investigate, ask questions, solve problems, and engage in critical thinking.”

It is important to provide your students with the opportunity go outside and allow them to engage in self-directed free play in nature.

How do you make this happen? It’s easy!

Instead of taking them to the built playground structure on the school ground, take your students to a place where the natural landscape and vegetation is accessible to them. This could mean an open grassy field or, if you’re lucky, a nearby forest. Believe it or not, once the kids are immersed in a natural space they will automatically start to explore, climb, run and ask questions and make observations about what they are seeing on their own.

On your first visit to this natural space, I suggest taking out with you basic supplies to get you started. These could include items such as magnify glasses, small trowels, paper and pencils for nature sketching, or items for a nature scavenger hunt (find scavenger hunt ideas here!) These items would be used to help kids get started in exploring nature. By the second or third visit you should no longer be needing any additional tools to get kids engaged.

The kids will start to immerse themselves in free play and will rely more on nature to provide the tools for interaction and investigation. Ideally, if you are able to continue with taking your kids outside on a regular basis (once or twice a week) for self-directed play, you will start to observe some changes in behavior.

Mason by the Sooke seashore. Photo by Jess Alford.

A deep nature connection activity I highly suggest is a “sit spot.” A sit spot provides time for students to find their own place in nature, sit quietly, and take time to observe and reflect on what is happening around them. Sit spots are an ideal way to start off your nature play time each time you go outside as a class. Observing seasonal changes throughout the year at their sit spot will enable your students to develop a deeper nature connection to a place.  Starting this week, in celebration of Earth Day, take your students outside and enable them to play outside in nature.

Looking for a special event to be a part of as a school community during Earth Week?

EarthPLAY for Earth Day is an Earth Day Canada initiative to get schools more involved in taking their students outside. Earth Day Canada is inviting schools across the country to get outside and play during the week leading up to Earth Day on April 22. They suggest taking an extended recess or hosting a whole day of popup adventure play at your school.

This is an amazing opportunity to connect kids with nature through outdoor, active, self-directed and unstructured play. Encourage kids to get outside no matter the weather or how much nature your school site offers. This is a valuable opportunity for children to create their own playground through outdoor play. Register your school and get tips and a tool kit for an EarthPLAY event at your school.

 

Earth Day community events happening around BC on April 22:

VICTORIA: Celebrate Community and Sustainability at the 6th Annual Creatively United Sustainability Showcase at the Royal BC Museum

VICTORIA: Bioblitz of Garry Oak Ecosystems

SURREY: Party for the Planet

NORTH VANCOUVER: Celebrate Earth Day at Mahon Park!

KELOWNA: Celebrate Biodiversity at the Kelowna Museum

 

Feature image by K. Zolotas.

Deep nature connection in the modern world: Coyote Mentoring

By Sierra Club BC Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore

There are two worlds: the modern world of science and technology, and the ancient world where we use our wild instincts to survive and understand what is happening around us. In our modern world, many of us have lost the deep nature connection our ancestors had. It’s time to ignite our wild instincts once again.

In his book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv wrote about nature deficit disorder. Louv expresses concern about our quality of life in the modern world on all levels—emotional, spiritual, mental, physical, cultural, and ecological. We are starting to understand that nature is fundamental to our overall well-being—and so we should all be getting some daily Vitamin (N)ature.

Snow Bunting

Snow bunting

However, in our busy modern lives, it is difficult to fully understand that deep nature connection is more than just a walk in the forest. Although this is a start, a deep nature connection must take place over the long term. Deep nature connection is about how we humans connect to nature, to other people, and to ourselves.  It is about the knowledge and connection to place that is ingrained into a culture.

Deep nature connection is not on the radar for many of us because we don’t actively learn it from a young age. So how can we humans living in the modern world integrate a deep nature connection into our lives and our children’s lives through education?

Coyote mentoring is a unique educational approach that has been developed over the past 25 years by Jon Young at the Wilderness Awareness School in Washington State. It uses children’s passion and excitement for nature as a catalyst to actively engage them in their learning process. Deep nature connection through coyote mentoring is an approach I have started to incorporate into my nature teachings at Sierra Club BC.

Coyote

Coyote

Deep nature connection through coyote mentoring is full of storytelling and music. It follows a child’s passion, incites awareness, and follows a natural cycle. Experimentation and play encourage adventure and fun. Children stretch their curiosity to the edge of nature learning—and through this comes healing and empowerment.

When there is a bird or an animal in the forest, do you hear it? Do you see it? Or are you too distracted and disconnected by the modern world to even notice it? Do you know what is happening around you? Are we so disconnected in the modern world that we are missing out on the natural things that surround us in our lives?

Coyote mentoring calls on us to stretch our awareness and become trained to see what is happening all around us each time we are in nature. As a mentor, my role is to help train kids how to listen and observe nature. I provide them with the support they need to break from old habits and create a fresh awareness about nature.

As Jon Young explains, our ecological footprint tells us we can’t afford not to be aware of things that are happening around us in nature. It’s quite simple: if people don’t connect with nature, they won’t love it. If they don’t love it, then they likely won’t support conservation efforts. If we don’t have a population of people who care about the earth, then we don’t have the capacity to create change.

White Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer

Coyote mentoring is a journey of self-knowledge and a bond between humans and nature. We meet people where they are on their journey. When my students are afraid of experiencing something in nature, I do not push them. I wait until they are ready to explore. Kinship with the land must be established first—then first-hand experiences with the natural world will happen. People break out of their comfort zones and old habits and begin to have a fresh awareness.

Much happens below the surface through this type of mentoring. This is called the invisible school. The invisible school is a place where mentors pass on knowledge and provide a place for deep connection. It enables that connection to become ingrained into a culture to the point where people connect with nature without even thinking about it.

Deep nature connection was a feature of ancient societies for thousands of years. It can still take place in our modern world. I believe this journey is a very valuable one if we want to see a bright, healthy future in our modern world.

Recommended resources on deep nature connection:

Video: Jon Young Speaks About the Role of Deep Nature Connection in Culture Repair

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by Jon Young, Evan McGown and Ellen Haas

Oak and Orca Forest School

Forest School Canada

Victoria Nature School

Fresh Air Learning

Soaring Eagle Nature School

Wilderness Awareness School

GreenHeart Education

Take your adventures outside this Spring Break!

By Sierra Club BC Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore

March 7 2017

Looking to get the kids outdoors and into nature over the spring break? Interested in joining a group of like-minded kids and families? Check out my recommendations for keeping nature connected and learning something new this spring break.

Getting outside over the spring break is something that we all look forward to doing. The sounds and smells of spring are in the air and we must embrace all the new discoveries that arrive this time of year in nature. The kids are anxious to explore, to play outdoor games and to experience life beyond the four walls of a classroom. Depending where you live, this might be your first opportunity since last summer to explore the beach or go for a hike in the forest without deep snow.

Having grown up in Ontario, I have always associated this time of year with Maple Season and the sound of water melting. The days are getting longer and the temperatures are warming up. The sounds of the spring peepers can be heard in the distance. Animals and birds are moving about and making more of an appearance. I grew up visiting my local conservation parks, learning how to make maple syrup and taking part in an interpretive guided hike program. I loved spending my time splashing in puddles after the thaw of a long winter. It is such a magical time of year for kids to be able to run, play and splash around in puddles and get excited about the tree buds, blossoms and birds. We can all hope after a long winter that spring is finally in the air!

Students at Quadra Elementary. Photo by Craig Janzen.

Regional parks in your own community are amazing places for the entire family to explore and learn something new. They are a great spot to experience and learn about all the changes that are taking place in nature.  During March break, many parks host events that will get you out to learn about wildlife such as bees, birds and beavers. The variety of family-friendly drop-in events as well as guided interpretive hikes are sure to be a hit for all ages.

If you are looking for a nature program for the kids during March break, why not check out what’s happening in regional parks in the Capital Regional District or Metro Vancouver?

If you live or are planning to visit Tofino over the March break and are looking for an incredible opportunity for your child to become immersed into nature each day with like-minded kids, you definitely should check out Tofino Nature Kids. They are facilitating a spring break camp at the Tofino Botanical Gardens for ages 5-9 years old which will include a variety of activities such as fire making, games, songs and stories. Kids will build on their nature skills and connect through play while taking part in this program with Tofino Nature Kids.

There are also great programs happening in the Central Okanagan and the Kootenays!

Wherever you find yourself this spring break with the kids, remember to take a moment to reflect and embrace this wonderful awakening in nature. I encourage you to take your adventures outside and see and experience something new.

Happy exploring!

Feature image by Craig Janzen.

“10 years back, 10 years forward”: Children, families and nature

Saturday February 25, 2017
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM PST

Royal Roads University
Hatley Castle Drawing Room
2005 Sooke Rd. Victoria BC

In February 2007, The Kesho Trust, Mountain Equipment Co-op, the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University hosted a community conference called a Dialogue on Children, Families and Nature. We were interested in the implications of the then-current book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder and invited its author Richard Louv to attend. This gathering, as well as a similar gatherings in 2009 and 2011, led to the formation of the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada and other critical initiatives related to getting children and families outside to experience and enjoy the many benefits of connecting with nature.

The Kesho Trust, Sierra Club of BC and Royal Roads University is hosting a ten-year anniversary meeting where we can all:

  • Hear about the outcomes of the work initiated or growing from those earlier gatherings;
  • Discuss where we believe we should be moving towards in the next ten years and how we might plan to move toward this desired future;
  • Celebrate!

The day will begin with coffee and mingling; our keynote speaker will be author Richard Louv, who will join us via the internet from his home in San Diego, CA. In addition, the Lieutenant Governor of BC, the Honourable Judy Guichon, will be attendng and she will offer her thoughts as a person who has a long-standing interest in this movement.

There will be a series of three panel presentations, each with 3-4 invited speakers. The panels will cover the domains of nature-based programs in schools (K-12), urban issues in child/nature connection, and the role of NGOs and governmental agencies. Panelists will briefly speak on where they see this movement has been and where it needs to go over the next decade.

Lunch will be provided, along with coffee and snacks.

Following the panel presentations, we will have a facilitated process which will allow you to think about what your desired futures might be in terms of the theme of the conference, and then to engage in a process of imagining the steps needed to get to that desired future.

Following the event, an open no-host bar will take place in the beautiful drawing room of Hatley Castle at Royal Roads University.

Download your free 2017 Nature E-Calendar!

To thank our many supporters for your inspiring efforts this past year, we’ve created a special gift to help you enjoy nature throughout 2017: an e-calendar series of breathtaking nature images from special places across British Columbia.

This series features one photo for each month of the year with a quick-reference calendar for your computer desktop. These specially selected photos were taken by photographer and longtime Sierra Club BC local group volunteer Caspar Davis. We are grateful for supporters like Caspar who help us showcase the beauty of this province.

The series is available in multiple sizes for different desktop proportions. Instructions for installing them as your desktop wallpaper are below.

We hope you enjoy these images as much as we do!

Wishing you the best for 2017.
Sierra Club BC

Choose the right aspect ratio for your desktop size and click to download your images here:

4:3 (1600 x 1200)

5:4 (1280 x 1024)

16:9 (2560 x 1440)

16:10 (2560 x 1600)

Instructions for installing:

Unzip the folder to extract the files to your computer.

To install on a Mac, click the apple icon in the top left of your screen, then Select System Preferences > Desktop and Screensaver. Find the folder of pictures in the search column on the left. Click on the folder and then click on the January photo to set your desktop wallpaper.

To install on a PC, select the Start  Start symbol button, then select Settings > Personalization. In Background, browse the picture folder and select the picture you want. The preview window gives you a sneak peek of your changes as you make them.

Why Our Children Need to Get Outside and Engage with Nature

By Guest Contributor Louise Pedersen

December 2016

Children spend less and less time in contact with the natural world and this is having a huge impact on their health and development.

Since the 1970s, there has been a vast accumulation of evidence to support the critical importance of nature for human health and well-being. Access to nature results in positive physical and mental health outcomes, enhanced attention and learning, and social and emotional well-being. Time in nature buffers the stress of fast-paced urban life and builds emotional resilience.

Sierra Club BC Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore exploring nature with Ecole Poirier students.

Evidence of the benefits of access to nature applies to people of all ages and at all stages of life. However, time in nature as a child is particularly important. It contributes positively to development of the whole child and lays the foundation for future health and emotional well-being as well as a lifelong connection to the natural world.

Early, sustained in-nature experiences are also predictive of future support of conservation and environmentally responsible choices. Thus childhood time in nature is critical both for human health and the health of the planet.

There is a well-developed body of knowledge of the many benefits of time spent in nature. The consequences of not having a nature-rich life is also well documented and reached the mainstream over a decade ago in Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder.

It is somewhat surprising then that this generation of children spends significantly less time in nature than their parents did. Canadian children are increasingly sedentary, spending an average of 6-7 hours per day engaged in screen-based, solitary activities (2011 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card) and less than one hour outside (David Suzuki Foundation). This troubling trend is affecting children’s connection to the natural world as well as their ability to learn, their social development and their health. This issue is multifaceted and complex: urbanization, the seductive lure of technology, and an increasingly risk-averse and litigious culture are all contributors.

NatureKids BC (formerly the Young Naturalists’ Club of BC Society) is a grassroots registered charity that helps children get outdoors to explore, play, learn about and take action for nature. Like Sierra Club BC, NatureKids is working to change the trend away from nature engagement, primarily through levers of access and opportunity.

We do this through an award-winning network of volunteer-led Family Nature Clubs that extends across BC. Together with our volunteer club leaders, nature mentors and donors, we share a vision of working together to help children develop a love of nature and a lifelong connection to the natural world while building environmental literacy and skills that will enable them to take action for nature.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Northern saw-whet owl

Thousands of children have participated in the NatureKids BC program since its inception in 2000. Program Alumni tell us their experiences with NatureKids BC helped embed in them a love of the natural world and a desire to protect it. NatureKids BC members have gone on to restore bogs, raise salmon fry, conduct humpback whale research, and share the wonder of the natural world with others.

Last year alone, we helped 1500+ children enjoy 4700 outdoor nature experiences across BC. And this is important because we now know that children need nature.

NatureKids BC publishes NatureWILD Magazine for kids. It’s the only magazine written about BC wildlife and ecosystems for elementary-aged youth. Each issue features fun and informative articles written by top BC naturalists and biologists, stories about children taking action for the environment, easy-to-read stories, and much more.

Through a School Membership, Teachers receive NatureWILD three times a year. Each issue comes with an accompanying Curriculum Guide linking it to the BC curriculum and helping teachers meet crosscurricular learning outcomes. NatureKids BC School Membership supports teachers in their efforts to incorporate place-based learning into the classroom and nature into the school community. It helps teachers address the big ideas and core curricular competencies for science, as well as other subjects such as math and language arts.

Learn more at NatureKids BC.