Golden elementary school students are taking advantage of the winter wonderland with Wildsight’s Winter Wonder Program.
With funding from the Columbia Basin Trust, Wildsight is taking primary students outside to learn about how plants and animals adapt to winter.
“Wildsight’s Winter Wonder programs always start off with some warm-up activities with the students inside,” said Sanne van der Ros, who is delivering the programs in Golden and Nicholson with Wendy Pope.
The program outings are different for each grade, and often reflect what they are learning in class.
“The Grade 3s study plants, so we focus more on the ways plants and trees cope with winter, and how animals depend on plants and trees for survival,” said van der Ros. “Once outside, we pack in a lot of different games and activities to let the students discover the natural area near their school. The students take on roles such as cougars and owls and snowshoe hares and mice in predator-prey type games.”
So far, the five to nine-year-old students have used their imagination to discover animal tracks, including those of cougars, moose, hedgehogs, and sometimes even bears.
“One student thought in all earnest that he saw a saber tooth tiger track. In reality, they often see deer tracks, discover burrows, notice squirrel nests, find woodpecker holes in dead standing trees, and identify rabbit droppings,” said van der Ros.
Between van der Ros and Pope, they are delivering a dozen Winter Wonder Programs this season, and are already part way through.
Winter Wonder is one of Wildsight’s most beloved education programs. Even though the field trip is fun, the kids are learning life sciences that meet BC Ministry of Education requirements for science education.
“Both Wendy and I love going to the different schools in the area as Captain Powder,” said van der Ros, referring to the winter character she often teaches as. “I paint snowflakes on my face and show up with my bags and backpack full of materials to do the activities including fur and track samples, animal images, tree outfits, and fun books.
“At the end of the program, I always ask the students what activity they really liked, and in the end all the different things we’ve done that morning or afternoon are mentioned. The students’ enthusiasm and excitement is what keeps me coming back each year. It’s so much fun to share in the wonder of winter with the youngsters in our Golden area.”
Anyone who would like to support a Winter Wonder expedition can do so by calling Wildsight to donate.