Nineteen grade seven students spent three days from June 10 to June 12 at Kimball Lake in The Meadow Lake Provincial Park. Three teachers and two parent volunteers accompanied them. For many of our students, this was their first experience in the wilderness of Saskatchewan’s northern forest. The students were organized into groups of three to six students who cooked and slept together. The groups were given a list of needed supplies and a menu to follow. It was each group’s responsibility to find the supplies needed for their group. Each group was responsible for setting up and taking down their campsite, for cooking for themselves, and for their campsite maintenance. A major factor contributing to the success of this program was student planning and preparation.
On Monday, we were scheduled to do the “Learn to Canoe” program and “Paddle the Waterhen”. However, due to lightning in the area, we had to cancel the canoe trip. We replaced canoeing with the “Our Connection to The Land” program. Tuesday, the students engaged in the “Skulls and Scat” program. Here the students learned the differences between predator and prey through examining the skulls, the teeth, the fur, the footprints and the scat of the various animals found within the Boreal Ecosystem. Next the students went on the “Ice Age” hike where they discovered how glaciation influenced the landforms, soil, flora and fauna of the park. As well, they explored past, present, and future factors of the boreal forest, including how people interact with it. On Tuesday afternoon, the students participated in the “Pond Dip” program where they explored various wetland animals and their habitats through “Critter Dipping”. Our last activity Tuesday was Leave no Trace where the students learned skills and ethics to support the sustainable use of wilderness and nature areas.
Each program was led by instructors from Meadow Lake Provincial Park. They passed on knowledge of the Boreal Ecosystem, the wildlife within that ecosystem, taught important environmental skills, and shared their personal experiences with the students. It was a very enjoyable and rewarding experience for the students, the teachers, and the parents.