Take a moment to think back on your childhood.
Can you pick one or two experiences that inspired you to discover and admire the natural world? Perhaps a family trip to a special place, a school field trip, or special teacher?
As a local nature conservancy, we want to do our very best to ensure children on Mayne Island get as much exposure as possible to inspiring nature experiences. Once we spark their interest and imagination, we help guide them on a path of self-learning and life-long care for our environment. Our project to create these inspirational experiences is the Science and Nature Education Program.
The word science is as important as the word nature! The program’s strength is to combine nature experiences with exposure to scientific principles. We do not restrict our education content to factoids and organism level biology, but explore topics such as astronomy, tidal forces, climate change, evolution, and natural disturbance regimes.
Our staff are experienced at taking these complex topics and teaching them using age-appropriate language and lessons. Our close relationship with School District 64 staff allows us to plan lessons that complement classroom-based content. We assist teachers on preparatory material and post-lesson follow-up, enabling us to contribute more significantly to student learning than if our lessons were unconnected to students’ long-term learning plans.
We fill an important role in a place where youth don’t have easy access to natural history centres such as museums and aquariums. The core of the project is delivered in close collaboration with staff at Mayne Island School, but we are always on the lookout for opportunities to engage with any youth residing on or visiting Mayne Island.
In addition to our staff, we connect students to guest professionals from within and outside of our community, helping to broaden student exposure to different professions and career opportunities.
Inspiring and educating the youngest segment of our population is a task that we hope will never end, but finding resources to keep going year after year can be challenging. The granting organization that supported it had been a strong supporter of our youth education program over the years, but has declined our grant application this year for $3,600. We are turning to you, our community donors, to help us keep the program running.