Southwestern Manitoba students visit nature’s classroom

Rejean Picard (MAFRI) leads students in the “dig it” station where students examine soil components and soil water-holding capacity.

Binney festival DSC011_opt.jpeg Binney festival DSC01_opt2.jpeg Binney festival DSC01_opt1.jpegApproximately 215 students from Cartwright, Indian Springs, Holland, Crystal City, Treherne, Westmount, Maple Leaf French Immersion, St. Claude, and Somerset schools took part in the fourth annual Binney Siding Water Festival on June 14, 2013.

The event is co-hosted by the Pembina Valley and La Salle Redboine conservation districts who partnered with the Prairie Spirit School Division to bring hands-on learning to local students.

Enbridge Pipeline Inc. once again sponsored the event by providing a tasty hotdog lunch to all students, teachers, and volunteers!

Elementary school students, in groups of five to eight, made their way along the trails at Binney Siding Nature Preserve, stopping at 10 different stations reflecting aspects of the Grade 3-6 science curricula, particularly on Grade 4 science.

The water festival is designed to show students that water is connected to everything, from micro-organisms living in the dirt to the oxygen we breathe, so each station incorporates water in a fun, hands-on way.

Students see how precious drinkable water is (we sometimes take it for granted living in Canada), how water moves through the water cycle, and the ways we can change/affect the quality and quantity of water. Stations on soil, forestry, mammals and water safety also get the students looking at water from different perspectives. Of course, a highlight always for students is the “critter dipping” off of the floating boardwalk and identifying all of their “catches” at the identification station.

“In Prairie Spirit School Division, we encourage students to learn their local stories so that they can better understand global examples,” said Prairie Spirit School Division learning services administrator, Lynda Matchullis. “Using outdoor classrooms like Binney Siding Nature Preserve is a great way to teach the curriculum.”

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