LEARNING FROM THE LAND: PIRS ENGLISH CLASSES AND FOOD SKILLS PARTICIPANTS JOIN 25X25 INITIATIVE BY THE BC PARKS FOUNDATION
Last month, as spring began emerging across the Lower Mainland, we facilitated nature-based field trips for our Community English Classes participants and families from the Food Skills program, thanks to the 25×25 Initiative by the BC Parks Foundation.
Prior to the field trips, we delivered four educational workshops to familiarize families with the vocabulary, signs, and things to look for in the nature park. The majority of the participants have low English proficiency, and many are new to Canada. Learning the vocabulary before the field trip helped to develop their knowledge and interest.
We aim to create a safe and welcoming environment on these trips, so we share what to expect on the field trip, what to bring, and what they will see and do.
[Gallery 1 | We are looking for a Bear… Can you find it? | Burnaby Regional Park]
“It’s great to get out and take some fresh air and have a walk and talk with friends. I appreciate it, and wish to have this kind of field trip every term.”
– field trip participant
Nature-based experiential learning is crucial for newcomers, as it allows them to develop a sense of place, belonging, and familiarity with the new community, as well as to develop relationships with the land they settle on. Participants gain more knowledge about the diversity of BC nature, learn about local Indigenous cultures, experience and enjoy new outdoor community places, and encourage their efforts in sustainability, nature protection, and reconciliation.
Indigenous peoples have been the stewards of these lands since time immemorial, and we recognize the importance of learning from their wisdom. To help participants develop a deeper understanding and connection to this place and its people, we introduced simple activities that focus on the history of the land, local plants, and cultural traditions of the local First Nations.
“Walking in a nature park is a great way to learn about the natural world, and my child is so happy with the nature treasure collection. I have gained a deeper appreciation for the land.”
– field trip participant
[Gallery 2 | Let’s get ready to Plant! | Norquay Field Garden]
We thank the BC Parks Foundation for providing the opportunity for our participants to connect to the land so that they (and we) are better equipped to care for and protect it in the years to come!
This project was funded by the BC Parks Foundation through the 25×25 initiative. Join the expedition at 25×25.ca.