By Jolene Siemens
After an unsuccessful attempt at a winter day trip (due to travel advisory) and a rained-out spring trip (access to site was impossible), we decided to rebook for a summer trip. It couldn’t have turned out better! I am a Learning Resource Teacher at Seven Stones. I worked with a wonderful team of 4 other teachers, our school Elder, and I was lucky enough to find 2 well-educated and experienced naturalists to volunteer to come along with us. We set out with our hot-dog buns and sun-screen for Dallas Valley in the sunshine. Teachers had been working on various science and social studies lessons around web of life, ecosystems in Canada, natural and man-made environmental issues on reserves in Saskatchewan, and a study of water including taking samples. After a message from our Elder about respect and the human connection to the land the day before the trip, as we reached the site students’ minds were prepared. The Dallas Valley team was fantastic and had everything we needed set up. Someone was waiting for our horse-back riding crew, firewood and pits were arranged, and our wonderful volunteers headed off with binocular-wielding students. We spent the day listening to birds, riding and hiking through the bush, fire-building, playing WILD games, collecting ticks, and roasting hot dogs. The day could only have been better if it were longer. Students loved the activities and for many of them it was a first-ever experience. Some students had been out in “the bush” with a kokum or mushom many times, but for others, like Min who arrived from Vietnam 3 years ago, this was their first time ever leaving the city. Horse-back riding was a definite student favourite. The teachers just loved seeing students in a different light. Hopefully a few will be convinced to run an overnight trip next school year! Thanks to SaskOutdoors for making this experience possible! Fundraising at our school is a bit of a challenge and without financial support many students would not be able to afford even a simple day trip like this.