Natural Prairie Ecosystems

Ecoquest

Contact person (The person making this entry has the ability to edit this entry in the future. See above for details as to how): 
Jana Miller
Email address of primary contact person: 
millerj@spsd.sk.ca
Describe the project (This description appears in your map point. Insert a photo if you choose by selecting the "tree" icon): 

The Ecoquest program is a subject-integrated program for grade eight students in the Saskatoon Public School Division. Students from schools across the division participate in a year of community and experiential oriented learning. The program, which celebrates a flexible timetable, carves out opportunities for sustained periods of field research. The diverse activities and in wilderness and urban environments also provide opportunities for students collaborate on tasks and projects together and create a strong sense of community. Although the program has its base camp in Buena Vista School, one of the program mantras is Students Without Desks. Saskatchewan's diverse landscape is the classroom as students make numerous connections with the Saskatoon community and local ecosystems. As such, the timing of each of the experiences is weighed heavily by the teachers. Following both the seasons and the provincial curriculum guidelines, Ecoquest’s two teachers work to integrate subjects into unifying themes which explore environmental and social contexts at local, national and international levels. These themes include: Settlement and First Nations Histories, Winter Ecology, Healthy Communities, Water, Globalization and Gender Discrimination. Although the focus shifts throughout the year from one theme to another, each themed study and associated field trip is designed to provide experiences which challenge students intellectually, physically, spiritually and socially.

From the outset, program designers Scott Thompson and Shelly Loeffler maintained the importance of student involvement in the assessment process and providing written feedback rather than numerical marks. This approach recognizes student learning as a continuum, and places the onus for improvement on the student. It also removes some of the marks-based competition many middle years students experience. This is vital to the creation of a supportive and inclusive learning community in which every student can recognize the many strengths they contribute.

Describe the timing of your project (Please describe the date and length of time the project runs): 

Ongoing

Keywords (Please list keywords, separated by commas, that relate to the project): 
Community learning, experiential learning
Describe the educational component of the project (e.g. formal education, training, or public awareness advanced by the project): 

The Ecoquest program is a subject-integrated program for grade eight students in the Saskatoon Public School Division. Students from schools across the division participate in a year of community and experiential oriented learning. The program, which celebrates a flexible timetable, carves out opportunities for sustained periods of field research. The diverse activities and in wilderness and urban environments also provide opportunities for students collaborate on tasks and projects together and create a strong sense of community.

What level of education does this project address?: 
Middle years school
Describe any participation in your project from the grassroots community, youth, the poor/vulnerable, minority groups: 

The Ecoquest program is successful largely because of the contributions and support from Saskatoon community members. Throughout the year local storytellers, historians, photographers, journalists, activists, conservation officers, and elders spend time sharing their perspective and experience with the students.

Project sponsors/funders: 

Local organizations such as CHEP, Wanuskewin, Meewasin Valley Authority, The Open Door Society, etc. also play an important role in welcoming and mentoring our students on their community stewardship placements.

How did you find out about this survey?: 

Data from recognition event 2011

Birding for Beginners - Nature Regina and Bruce Kellett

Contact person (The person making this entry has the ability to edit this entry in the future. See above for details as to how): 
Bruce Kellett
Email address of primary contact person: 
not applicable
Describe the project (This description appears in your map point. Insert a photo if you choose by selecting the "tree" icon): 

Birding for Beginners by Nature Regina and Bruce Kellett is a non-formal educational opportunity run as a not-for profit activity. The intent is to transform passive interest in birds to active interest in birding and bird initiatives. This program is available to the general public and, therefore, welcomes participation by anyone with an interest in birds. Participants are encouraged to apply their newly learned skills in the field on their own and to report back to the group. They are acknowledged for their efforts and lauded for their discoveries. The program adapts to the group. The objective is to transfer knowledge, which often requires creating challenges for various levels of experience. Prairie ecosystems and their inhabitants are under increasing pressure from various sources - farming, development, global warming, and more. In its recent report titled "The State of the World's Birds" the conservation group Bird Life International outlined the dramatic decline in bird populations across the world, and the need for immediate action on conservation and awareness efforts in the preservation of bird species and habitats. During the course, Birding for Beginners, the participants learned the basics of bird identification, classification and behaviour. The course also covered birding ethics and conservation of various bird habitats, including prairie ecosystems.

 

 

Describe the timing of your project (Please describe the date and length of time the project runs): 

Annually

Keywords (Please list keywords, separated by commas, that relate to the project): 
Birding; knowledge transfer; informal education; awareness; field trip
Describe the educational component of the project (e.g. formal education, training, or public awareness advanced by the project): 

Informal - awareness

What level of education does this project address?: 
Public awareness, for example, through the media (informal education)
Project sponsors/funders: 

Nature Regina sponsors

How did you find out about this survey?: 

Recognition Program

Wings Over Wascana Nature Festival 2008

Contact person (The person making this entry has the ability to edit this entry in the future. See above for details as to how): 
Friends of Wascana Marsh
Email address of primary contact person: 
info@wascanamarsh.ca
Describe the project (This description appears in your map point. Insert a photo if you choose by selecting the "tree" icon): 

WOW is an outdoor nature festival at Wascana Marsh offering free wetland and wildlife activities, entertainment and guided hikes for people of all ages. This annual festival occurs on the second weekend in May to coincide with International Migratory Bird Day. Preceding the school (Friday) and public (Saturday) event days is a fundraising dinner on Thursday evening to raise monies for interpretive components at the marsh, followed by an interactive and educational day for school students on Friday. Public programming begins on Friday evening and continues all day Saturday.  Programming includes live animal presentations, guided nature hikes, birding programs, earth songs, pond dipping, bird house building, and many more opportunities to connect with nature in Wascana Marsh.

Describe the timing of your project (Please describe the date and length of time the project runs): 

Annually in conjunction with International Migratory Bird Day (the second Saturday in May)

Keywords (Please list keywords, separated by commas, that relate to the project): 
Nature festival, informal education, formal education, Migratory Bird Day, Wascana Park, Wascana Marsh
Describe the educational component of the project (e.g. formal education, training, or public awareness advanced by the project): 

All three festival events (fundraising dinner, school day, and public day) are designed with formal and informal education components involved.  A guest speaker presents on a variety of environmental themes at the fundraising dinner and activities offered during the public and school days are aimed at raising awareness, educating the public on environmental issues, and connecting people to the prairie ecosystem in an urban setting.

What level of education does this project address?: 
Elementary school
Middle years school
Public awareness, for example, through the media (informal education)
Are there any research questions and opportunities that have or could be examined with this project?: 

The impact of the Wings Over Wascana Nature Festival on schoolchildren, public, and volunteer involvement could be explored. Research could be done to investigate the connections made between volunteers, the public, and Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment and Parks & Heritage Interpreters workshops.

Project sponsors/funders: 

In 2008: TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, SaskEnergy, Ipsco, conexus Credit Union, Nature Regina, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Educators Association, and Saskatchewan Watershed Authority.

How did you find out about this survey?: 

Student Researcher.

Plovers On Shore

Contact person (The person making this entry has the ability to edit this entry in the future. See above for details as to how): 
Habitat Stewardship Coordinator - Plovers on Shore
Email address of primary contact person: 
outreach@naturesask.ca
Describe the project (This description appears in your map point. Insert a photo if you choose by selecting the "tree" icon): 

Nature Saskatchewan's Plovers On Shore (POS) is a voluntary stewardship program that promotes the endangered Piping Plover as an ambassador for conserving shoreline/wetland habitat for plovers and other prairie species. POS works with southern Saskatchewan landowners to voluntarily conserve shoreline/wetland habitat by agreeing not to disturb or negatively alter plover nesting habitat including not draining wetlands, allowing livestock on the shoreline/wetland, or breaking surrounding prairie.  

Plovers On Shore:

- Conserves shoreline/wetland habitat for Piping Plovers and other wildlife through voluntary landowner stewardship.

- Increases awareness and education about Piping Plovers and other prairie species.

- Encourages and monitors the plover population in Saskatchewan through POS participants.

- Promotes beneficial management practices, and habitat enhancement and restoration.

Describe the timing of your project (Please describe the date and length of time the project runs): 

Began May 2008; Ongoing.

Keywords (Please list keywords, separated by commas, that relate to the project): 
Piping Plover, stewardship, education, private landowners, Species At Risk.
Describe the educational component of the project (e.g. formal education, training, or public awareness advanced by the project): 

Plovers On Shore aims to increase awareness and provide education on Piping Plovers and other prairie species targeted at landholders and to the general public.

What level of education does this project address?: 
Public awareness, for example, through the media (informal education)
Project sponsors/funders: 

Alliance Pipeline, Greencover Canada Technical Assistance Program, Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada – Canada Summer Jobs Program, Saskatchewan Environment - Fish & Wildlife Development Fund, Saskatchewan Environmental Industry and Management Association - Green Team, SaskEnergy, SaskPower, Shell Environmental Fund, The EJLB Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment, World Wildlife Fund and Environment Canada - Endangered Species Recovery Fund, Nature Saskatchewan Member Donations

Prairie Dioramas - Life Sciences Gallery

Contact person (The person making this entry has the ability to edit this entry in the future. See above for details as to how): 
Glenn Sutter
Email address of primary contact person: 
glenn.sutter@gov.sk.ca
Describe the project (This description appears in your map point. Insert a photo if you choose by selecting the "tree" icon): 

The Life Sciences Gallery at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum uses life-sized dioramas and interactive exhibits to examine the ecology and natural history of Saskatchewan.  Completed in 2001, the Gallery consists of an orientation area, a tour of unaltered Saskatchewan landscapes, a section called Global View that looks at how the province is connected to distant locations, and The Human Factor, which looks at regional and global issues associated with human activity, and potential solutions.  Several dioramas in the Gallery focus on grasslands, simulating the sights and sounds of native prairie ecosystems and telling "neat stories" about different plants and animals through interpretive labels.

Describe the timing of your project (Please describe the date and length of time the project runs): 

The current Life Sciences Gallery will be in place for at least 15 years, with periodic updates.

Keywords (Please list keywords, separated by commas, that relate to the project): 
native prairie, natural history, biodiversity, animal ecology, plant ecology
Describe the educational component of the project (e.g. formal education, training, or public awareness advanced by the project): 

The RSM has an annual visitation of about 150,000, plus another 20,000 students who take par in specific programs or teacher-supervised visits.

What level of education does this project address?: 
Public awareness, for example, through the media (informal education)
Professional and other training outside the formal school/higher education system (non-formal education)
Are there any research questions and opportunities that have or could be examined with this project?: 

What do visitors like and dislike about natural history dioramas?  How do people with different learning styles engage with the content?  What aspects of the museum experience are memorable?  Do these memories have a lasting impact?   What inspires people to come back for repeated visits?  What strategies should teachers use to help their students get the most out of a museum visit?  What are the benefits and drawbacks of this sort of public education?

Publications (Has there been any documentation of this project/research?): 

No research has been published about the LSG to date, but visitor use data have been, and will continue to be collected.  This information will be published as part of a research paper about The Human Factor exhibit, this fall.

Project sponsors/funders: 

Funding for the Life Sciences was provided by the Government of Saskatchewan, Royal Bank Financial Group, Optimist International, and Natural Resources Canada through the Climate Change Action Fund. 

How did you find out about this survey?: 

Through a student researcher.

Syndicate content