Livingstone Range School Division
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Environmental Sustainability Course Creates Citizens & Scientists

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From online work to real-world experiences, junior high students are learning about their connection to the environment and how to positively impact the world around them. 

The Exploring Environmental Sustainability option course invites Grades 7 to 9 students to become responsible global citizens right here in their own area. Featuring asynchronous online learning supported by a teacher at the local school, students learn about environmental issues then propose solutions and apply their knowledge in a final project.

"This course gives students an understanding of the place they live and how we can consider our own needs and take nature’s needs into account," says Kirby Dietze, teacher of the course. "From watersheds to wildlife protection, students are looking at how we can live in harmony with the environment."

Students get hands-on experiential learning with two day-long field trips to PEAKS Campus in the Crowsnest Pass. These are designed for students to meet with environmental sustainability experts and see first-hand the work being done in the local area.

On March 5, 2024 the students met with Nature Conservancy of Canada leaders to learn about a wildlife corridor that runs through the PEAKS Campus land, and the work being done to identify animal movement in the area. The students created dioramas to replicate the potential wildlife benefits of an animal overpass. 

For the second field day, on April 8, 2024, students donned waders and went into the Crowsnest River. Working with team members from the Oldman Watershed Council, students gathered and identified invertebrates, which can indicate water health.

"These field trips take students from theoretical to practical, as they engage in a way you can’t in a classroom setting," says Dietze. "It makes the science real."

Students select a final project that is the culmination of their learning and which results in actions that benefit the environment. One student planted trees in his backyard to increase C02 absorption and 02 production due to deforestation. Another student's final project was to track his household electricity consumption before and after reducing his tablet and cellphone usage. 

A student who chose to walk to school for 3 weeks rather than being driven by parents, found benefits beyond environmental impact. He said, "Walking was not just an improvement for my C02 footprint, it improved my day. My day was better because I felt awake earlier so I wasn’t groggy all day."

Their teacher is impressed with student creativity and commitment. "It's amazing to see how invested students are in making a difference and becoming wise stewards of the natural world," says Dietze.

Registrations are now open for the Junior High Exploring Environmental Sustainability option course in Fall 2024. Talk to your school principal for details.

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