By James Davis, Education Program Manager
As I close in on the two-year mark as the Education Program Manager here at Sierra Club BC, I am honoured to be working in a program with a rich and impressive history.
At the beginning of this school year, the Education Program celebrated 20 years of working with schools across the province. Since the program launched in 1998, Sierra Club BC’s Environmental Educators have worked with over 140,000 students from Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert, from the Okanagan to Fort St. John… and beyond!
The Education Program’s work over the past 20 years includes the following highlights:
- partnering with Sierra Youth Coalition on the Sustainable High Schools BC project
- developing popular teaching resources such as the TRFic! temperate rainforest guidebook and poster kit, From Maps to Murrellets, Watershed Connections, and Barefoot Mapping
- collaborating with the Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative and the Centre for Non-Timber Resources at Royal Roads University to create the Going Wild! guidebook in 2009
- working with high school students in the Capital Region District to engage in restoration work and develop leadership skills through the Youth Environmental Leadership Program (YELP)
Jenn Hoffman, who launched the Education Program as its inaugural Program Coordinator and served as Program Director until 2008, recently sent us some belated birthday wishes:
“After 20 years Sierra Club BC’s education program is more relevant today than ever before. Thanks to continued investment and the leadership of a generation of inspiring educators, Sierra Club BC continues to provide science-based, practical and important programs to connect students, teachers and parents with nature across BC.”
We currently offer a suite of four different workshops to kindergarten to grade 8 students, including French language options for K-2 students. We are the only organization in BC offering free, hands-on environmental education workshops on site at schools on a province-wide basis. We also support teachers to integrate meaningful outdoor learning opportunities into the teaching routines, both through professional development trainings that our staff facilitate and through the mentorship pilot program that we piloted at the beginning of 2018.
Over the past four and a half years, our Environmental Educators have visited 38 of the 60 school districts in BC. By the end of the current school year, we aim to have added another five new school districts for a total of 43 over five years.
Over the past two years, we have been honoured to collaborate with T’Sou-ke Nation knowledge-keeper Charlene George~kQwa’ste’not to refine the content and delivery of our workshops. Her insights from both Coast Salish and Nuu-Chah-Nulth perspectives have helped immensely in our efforts to make sure that our workshops address the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual learning needs of students.
Kirsten and Amira (our current team of Environmental Educators) are looking forward to a well-earned break at the end of this month, but we are also excited about what’s in store for 2019. They will be spending some time closer to home but we are also planning trips to the Okanagan and Williams Lake, Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, and an epic trip from Prince Rupert to Prince George.
We’re helping kids get outside across the province and we rely on donations to keep our programs free, accessible, and inclusive. Please donate today to ensure they can stay this way.
Education Program Manager James Davis James knows firsthand the power of learning in—and about—nature. This motivates him to ensure kids across BC have access to nature-based experiences.
BC’s children are our future leaders. Growing up with a strong connection to the land will help them be strong environmental leaders.
You can help our Education Team nurture the leaders of tomorrow. From now until the end of December, your donation will be matched by a major donor – dollar for dollar!
Please give to ensure we can continue doing this work.