By Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore
The days have begun to cool down and the rain has returned to nurture the plants and animals as we welcome a new season—a new journey. I welcome you back for another exciting and inspiring school year full of possibility for wonderful nature connection moments with students across B.C.
I’m pleased to be returning for my 5th school year and I’m curious who I will meet this year and what I will learn and be able to share.
Something I’ve been reminded of recently is that in order to model and share nature connection with kids, I need to embark on my own nature connection journey. That’s why this summer I was part of a one-week deep connection workshop called the “Art of Mentoring” that took place on Salt Spring Island.
During that time I was reminded of the core routines: offering gratitude, the importance of sharing my story with someone, and the “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.
I encourage all of you to try out these core routines in your own nature connection journey and see how they fit into your life. The key question to ask yourself is: what would make this year more meaningful for my journey out in nature?
You might be wondering what’s new this year in Education at Sierra Club BC.
I am excited to announce that my fellow Environmental Educator Amira and I are working collaboratively to develop and deliver our education programs across the province. When we visit a school together there will be greater capacity to reach more classes and make a deeper impact in that one school community. That’s exciting, and I am looking forward to experiencing the impacts this will make in schools, specifically in the conversations that teachers have with one another when they share their stories about their workshop and what they did with their class when we visited.
We have been busy preparing our programs for a relaunch of our Going Wild! workshops. In the spring, we were fortunate to have our programs go through a formal evaluation process based on specific environmental education standards. We were delighted for the feedback that our programming is exemplary overall.
The workshops continue to focus on planting seeds to sprout environmental stewards through a holistic, shared lens of Indigenous teachings and scientific understanding. Highlights include greater time spent outdoors, Indigenous teachings intertwined throughout the workshops, greater hands-on exploration time, and a focus on building environmental stewards throughout our province.
This year our Education program is celebrating our 20th birthday. It’s a fabulous time for us all to reflect on the role we have played in supporting children to spend more time outdoors connecting with nature, where our efforts continue in the present and into the future keeping in mind the future generations.
I would like to personally thank all of you for your continued support for the education team at Sierra Club BC.
Feature image by Brynne Morrice.