A beautiful and ecologically significant parcel of land was the educational site for a group of 16 students from Rossburn High School last month. They were there to further their knowledge in both the Outdoor Education and Land Management and Water Resources courses in which they are registered.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada-owned land is 1,600 acres of Aspen Parkland, north of Rossburn, nestled against the southern fringe of Riding Mountain National Park. The NCC is Canada’s leading national land conservation organization, and in the past 15 years, the Manitoba Region of NCC has protected over 40,000 acres of habitat.
NCC purchases or accepts donations of lands that support rare and endangered plants and animals and devotes itself to the long-term stewardship of these natural communities.
As part of the program, the students, with their teachers Dennis Kaskiw and Jaynie Burnell, and educational assistant Judy Bartkiw, were building quinzhees or snow caves that were to be their sleeping accommodation for the night.
Kevin Teneycke, director of conservation for NCC said that this two-day event was part of the NCC’s conservation volunteer program, where the public helps to conserve biodiversity through activities such as tree planting, invasive species removal and trail building. These Rossburn students would have the opportunity to take part in a large mammal inventory, by tracking and recording their observations. In preparation for this they learned to read and understand maps, how to use compasses and the relationship of both to the information entered into the global positioning system units. They were able to find signs of deer, moose, elk, lynx and fisher.
At the end of this adventure, the students came away with a new appreciation of the outdoors. One of the goals of the NCC is to get people engaged, informed and supportive of their conservation efforts, and by allowing this group of young people to share in the amazing wilderness habitat of the Elk Glen Project, they certainly achieved that.
For more information about the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s work in Manitoba, or if you would like to become a conservation volunteer, call toll free 1-866-683-6934 or go to the NCC website at www.natureconserv ancy.ca/mb.
– Candy Irwin writes from Lake Audy, Manitoba