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Manitoba students turn conservation teachers

High school students developed lesson plans for elementary schoolchildren

Students from Pilot Mound, Swan Valley and Carman won recognition and cash for teaching kids about watershed conservation in the first Healthy Watersheds Student Project competition.

“It’s a pleasure to watch these kids,” said Cliff Greenfield, manager of Pembina Valley Conservation District as he announced the first-place winners at a Manitoba Conservation Districts Association conference on Dec. 3.

The assignment asked Grade 8 to 12 students to develop a lesson plan and teach Grade 3 to 4 students about Manitoba’s watersheds, said Sean Goertzen, executive director of MCDA.

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The aim was to “support Manitoba youth in becoming the next generation of stewards of our watersheds,” Goertzen said.

Colin Hildebrand, Riley Kimball, Donavan Kimball and Alex Qin of Pilot Mound Collegiate Institute took home top prize. The young men didn’t make the trip from Pilot Mound, but a video they submitted showed how they taught kids about the benefits of rain gardens (sometimes called bioretention facilities).

The students planted a rain garden of their own, and used it to plan a lesson that used relay races and games to show how native plants can soak in and hold water in flood scenarios.

Macy Broome and Stacey Makyeyeva from Swan Valley Regional Secondary School won second prize for the lesson they taught on the Swan Lake watershed.

The young women built a “journey through the watershed” board game where students moved through the watershed and picked up a “human impact” card on each turn. Each player had a cup, which represented the watershed, and collected beads representing pollution. The player with the least pollution won the game.

Lexie, Gavin, Liam and Quinn of Carman Collegiate won third place. The students came to the conference to present on their lesson plan on the Boyne River watershed.

They created a video to teach kids watershed terminology, and used a “Jeopardy”-style game to quiz the students on facts like, “What is a tributary?” and, “What is the junction of two rivers called?”

The students said they enjoyed teaching the kids and building the lesson plan.

About the author

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Geralyn Wichers

Geralyn Wichers grew up on a hobby farm near Anola, Manitoba, where her family raised cattle, pigs and chickens. Geralyn graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in 2019 and was previously a reporter for The Carillon in Steinbach. Geralyn is also a published author of science fiction and fantasy novels.

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