Now in its 7th year, Wildsight’s Winter Wonder program continues to educate, amaze, and connect students across the Columbia Basin, as they learn about the joys, secrets, and wonders of our winters.
Nearly 160 field trips are booked this year, up from 140 last winter. The program takes almost 3,100 students between Kindergarten and Grade 3 on a half-day field trip to explore winter wildlife ecology, snow science, and weather – all concepts embedded in the current BC education curriculum for these grades.
Local educator Sanne van der Ros, who often dresses in a white costume carrying her Snowy Owl in one pocket of her science jacket, binoculars and a giant snowflake strung around her neck, has facilitated the Winter Wonder program in Golden since 2008. In this costume she is known as Captain Powder.
This years she visited Field Elementary, Alexander Park Elementary, Nicholson Elementary, as well as Edgewater Elementary.
There have been 12 programs delivered in van der Ros’ region, with two more to go. The programs start out in the classroom, but soon enough the students dress up warmly to spen the rest of the time outside learning about winter ecology and snow science.
“Each school has its own unique ‘green’ (white!) space where the outdoor part of the program takes place. At APES, the students will explore the forest’s edge along the Rotary Trail. At Nicholson, a big part of the program takes place in a great forested space of the playground. At Field, students looked for evidence of animal signs in the forest just across the bridge over Mt. Stephen’s Creek. At Edgewater, the program took advantage of the hilly landscape and forests just adjacent to the playground with views below onto the Columbia River and the wetlands where students were able to spot a herd of deer resting in the snow,” said van der Ros.
“Requests for these popular programs always seem to increase,” said Monica Nissen, Wildsight’s Education in the Wild Program Manager.
“This year, sadly, we had to turn away classes. Despite adding an additional 20 field trips this year, we have more demand than we can accommodate.”
Fortunately many teachers in Golden requested the program, and were able to bring it into their classrooms.
“Across Canada, kids are spending less and less time outside. Winter Wonder gets kids outside, connecting them with the magic of winter ecology and their backyards. Our team of twelve professional outdoor educators bring the curriculum to life for students.”
Winter Wonder educators show up in costume, and ‘Frosty Flake’, ‘Jill Frost’ or other magical characters lead the class through a range of hands-on activities, both in and out of the class.
Wildsight gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Columbia Basin Trust, Fortis BC, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, the North Face Explore Fund and the BC Gaming Commission.