JUNE 2016 | VOLUME 7 | NUMBER 4
S A S K AT C H E W A N PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N A S S O C I AT I O N
CONNECTING WITH NATURE
JUNE 2016 | VOLUME 7 | NUMBER 4
SPRA BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Dawna Nielson
Director for Villages Clive Craig
Director at Large Dylan Czarnecki
Director for Cities Ken Ottenbreit
Director at Large Vacant
Director at Large Coralie Bueckert
Director for Towns Jaime Helgason
Director at Large Guylaine Green
Director for the North TJ Biemans
SPRA STAFF MANAGEMENT
Disc Golf 03 Outdoor Learning “The Absolute Best”
Geocaching in Nature
Learning to Spend Time with the Seasons
Youth Conservation Camp
School Garden 11 Healthy Communities: Harvesting the Benefits 13
Chief Executive Officer Norm Campbell Program Manager John Firnesz Field Services Manager Randy Durovick Communications, Information and Research Manager Chantel Doerksen RECREATION CONSULTANTS Information and Research Services Nancy Young
DIRECTION is published four times a year (December, March, June and September). The publication is provided to members of the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association. Direct all communications to: Editor, DIRECTION #100 - 1445 Park Street Regina, Saskatchewan S4N 4C5 You may also send letters or comments to Lori Ross, Communications Consultant, at 306.780.9370, by fax at 306.780.9257, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles within this magazine are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of SPRA. Articles in DIRECTION may be reprinted, provided that full credits are shown for the author and the magazine.
Communications Lori Ross Christian Bates-Hardy Human Resources and Funding Lee Anne Balliett Parks and Open Spaces Andrew Exelby Physical Activity and Fitness Wendy McKellar Aboriginal Support Tim Haywahe Leadership and Evaluation Karen Thompson
Recreation Facilities Kelly Skotnitsky
FIELD CONSULTANTS/ ADMINISTRATION
Youth Engagement Desirea Weninger
Swift Current Jaclyn Davis/Carol Stork Phone: (306) 778-1091
Assistant Consultant Andrew Millard ADMINISTRATION Consultant Finance Anita Ehman Business Administrator (halftime) Linda Arnold Executive Assistant Lois McNaught Administrative Technician Ryan Monks Administrative Assistant II Kayla Schreiner Administrative Assistant I Tamara Goebel Administrative Assistant (half-time) Pamela Gray Fitness/Administrative Assistant II Lynn Bradley
Regina Office: Phone: (306) 780-9231 or 1-800-563-2555
Rosetown/North Battleford Kerry Bailey/Janae Dawson Phone: (306) 882-6601 Prince Albert Rob Boulding/Shari Morash Phone: (306) 953-0052 Weyburn Sean Hanlon Phone: (306) 848-0274 Yorkton Darren Spelay/Tracy Malayney Phone: (306) 782-1072 Humboldt Clint McConnell/ Lynne Morelli Phone: (306) 682-5265 La Ronge Daniel Longman Phone: (306) 425-1910
PRESIDENT’S REPORT Welcome to another edition of DIRECTION…Connecting People with Nature. With our June edition, what better time of the year is there to explore all of the great summer activities that encourage people to participate in outdoor recreation.
in an effort to unify society, park operators and recreation providers in a long term commitment to the network of parks and outdoor spaces across Canada. In moving forward, we will continue to represent Saskatchewan and ensure that our interests are heard.
Many of you recognize the importance of outdoor activity and the connection of nature and people. The Framework for Recreation in Canada 2015: Pathways to Wellbeing helps remind us all that society is becoming further disconnected from nature as our population is becoming increasingly urbanized. Through the five Goals of the Framework: Active Living, Inclusion and Access, Connecting People and Nature, Supportive Environments and Recreation Capacity, the importance of outdoor recreation, parks and the connection of society to nature is being recognized.
So what can we do? Recreation Works and is a critical component of society and the overall wellness of people. I encourage you to lead by example! We are the leaders of recreation in our province and we are heavily involved in our communities. Get out there, enjoy the outdoors and make sure that you are Connecting People with Nature!
There are so many ways that you and your community can get involved and enjoy your outdoor surroundings. Summer in Saskatchewan is a beautiful time of the year - take advantage of great weather and our province’s extensive recreation and parks network! There are some countless initiatives that are really gaining steam around the province. The popularity of Disc Golf and Geocaching in Saskatchewan has exploded in recent years, and both have the potential to engage all demographics of a community in outdoor activity that provides varying levels of social, physical and emotional benefits.
Dawna Nielson SPRA President
For a full list of JRPM Ambassador Events for you to be involved with, visit the SPRA Events Calendar online at www.spra.sk.ca.
And of course, the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association remains committed to enhancing Recreation in the province and advocating for our members. June is Recreation & Parks Month (JRPM) is here and we have dozens of communities from across the province participating as Ambassadors. Each one of our JRPM Ambassadors has committed to hosting an event during the month of June that engages their network in outdoor recreation. The commitment of the recreation sector to enhancing outdoor activity in June is outstanding! We are also working for you at the national level. Recently, a delegation from SPRA represented Saskatchewan at the Canadian Parks Summit. This event, coordinated by the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association and the Canadian Parks Council, connected stakeholders across the country June 2016
DISC GOLF Few things enhance a walk outdoors like an opportunity to explore an exciting sport in the process. That is what makes disc golf so compelling! A course is primarily created as an outdoor activity to encourage residents to get away from the television and video games for exercise and competition. “When we look to install a new course the first thing we tell a community to look for is a spot with lots of trees,” said Calvin Daniels interim-chair of the new formed Parkland Association of Disc Golf (PADG). “The more trees on a course the more challenging, and that is a plus for players in terms of building game skills.” “But, it goes beyond trees creating a challenge, the more trees on a course the more enjoyable the walk around the course. It was just the other day we were on the course in Saskatoon and saw a porcupine waddling into a clump of trees, and there are always garter snakes in the grass, birds singing from the trees, or frog croaks from natural water,” said Daniels. “It’s actually a rare occasion a mature tree is removed when designing a course, he continued, adding more often than not we suggest planting additional trees.” “Adding a tree, some flower beds, a purple martin house they can all add to the broader appeal of disc golf. They are amenities which can add much to a course,” said Daniels, who added they have been working with a lot of local communities to get course approved, designed, and installed. As the snow melted in the spring of 2015, there were only three courses in the parkland region: Yorkton, Montmartre and Benito, MB., but the disc golf map has become much more crowded since. Over the course of summer/fall last year, new courses were installed at Sandy Beach, at Good Spirit Lake, Springside, Lemberg, Carlton Trail Regional Park, Melville, Rocanville and Fort Qu’Appelle. Courses are also under development and being installed this spring at Ituna Regional Park, Moosomin Regional Park, Stockholm, Kelvington, Whitesand Regional Park, and in Manitoba at Birtle and Asessippi Beach and Campground. Daniels said within the PAGD area, (defined as with a 125-kms radius of
Yorkton, SK.), there are some wonderful natural settings that have been transformed into competitive courses. “The course in Rocanville is a great example,” said Daniels. “It is a round of 18 which winds its way down the cut trail of the area’s cross country ski trails. The fairways are narrow which makes it challenging. But the great thing is that it extends the season of the ski trail area. Disc golf players are now able to enjoy the wonderful setting.” Or, you can look at the course in Birtle, MB. “It’s an amazing Par-72 course crisscrossing rolling hills and through trees overlooking the Birdtail River and the town of Birtle,” said Daniels. “It would be a great nature walk, but it’s even more fun as a challenging disc golf course.” Daniels said it’s the same thing at Asessippi Beach and Campground, where you walk beside the Shell River on one part of the course, and can then relax at a picnic table near a tee that overlooks the valley.
For those unfamiliar with disc golf, the game plays much like ball golf. There are marked tees; players throw within eightfeet of the right of the tee-post, usually throwing a driver disc. As might be expected, drivers, which can be thrown forehand or backhand, are designed to fly farther than other discs. A midrange disc is thrown from the fairway. You simply throw again from behind the position where your driver landed. Once close to the target, choose a putter. Throw it so it hits the target and you have completed the ‘hole’. However, unlike ball golf, where clubs and course fees can both be quite expensive, disc golf is low cost for players making it ideal for family involvement, and it can be played by families with young children, to those past 55. A basic three-disc starter set of driver/mid-range/putter, more about the specific discs later, is $30 - $40. The best discs available are about $40 each. For players, a round of disc golf is both fun and great exercise. A round of 18 will mean a walk of approximately one kilometre. You will do an aerobic-like twist of your body some 55-times in throwing discs, and you will bend over as in touching your toes, some 100 times in picking up discs, and your disc bag. “It’s great outdoor exercise, but not so strenuous that it limits who can play,” said Daniels. “We often see families out on local courses, and there are lots of players with greying temples like myself too.” While disc golf is a recreation for many, it can be played at a professional level also, with a pro tour, and major events around the world. Many can be seen via YouTube including live coverage at times. As it stands there are nearing 5000 courses in the United States, with several thousand more worldwide. A Hall of Fame to the sport launched in 1993. Internationally, the governing body is the Professional Disc Golf Association. It has seen growth of 12-15 percent per year over the past decade, with 2005 membership of 9600 and 2014 of 24400. In early August of this past year the International Olympic Committee granted full Recognition to Disc Sports including disc golf. “Disc golf is growing as a sport worldwide,” said Daniels. “The Disc Golf World Tour is an example. It’s new this year, and has stops in not only the United States, but Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. And that trend is certainly mimicked in Western Canada.” Maybe that is not surprising given a little of the history of the sport. “The first known instance of anyone playing golf with a flying disc occurred in Bladworth, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1926. Ronald Gibson and a group of his Bladworth Elemen-
tary School buddies played a game throwing tin plates at targets such as trees and fence posts. They called the game Tin Lid Golf and played on a fairly regular basis on a disc golf course they laid out on their school grounds. But, after they grew older and went their separate ways, the game came to an end,” noted Wikipedia. Today, across the four western provinces the number of courses is 100-plus, with a half dozen in the Yukon as well. The low costs associated with disc golf help too. Players can participate at very low costs, most courses are free to play as a municipal recreation, and the low costs extend to course installs. “Courses are rarely, if ever irrigated. Municipalities don’t have to fertilize like they do a ball golf course, nor apply the herbicides, or invest in high-cost specialized course maintenance equipment,” said Daniels. “It’s a very ‘green’ outdoor sportrecreation in addition to just so much fun.” For additional information, contact the Parkland Association of Disc Golf at email@example.com.
Parkland Association of Disc Golf
LEARN TO FISH This program is designed to introduce fishing to beginners of all ages and to encourage proper fishing practices amongst these new users. Participants will learn fish identification, tackle and accessories, rules and regulations, how to cast, proper fish handling and much more! The teaching portion will be followed by a hands-on casting lesson, and once participants have the basics of casting they, will have the chance to try their luck at catching a real fish!
OUTDOOR LEARNING “THE ABSOLUTE BEST” Nikanetan is an experiential education program for students in grade 8. The focus is on teamwork and leadership and is designed to re-engage youth who are at risk of dropping out of school.
“The best math lessons happen after supper on a camping trip,” says Chris Clark, a teacher with the Saskatoon Public School’s Nikanetan program. “The kids are physically tired. They’ve eaten well, slept well; they’re getting in tune with the way human beings are supposed to be. We may do traditional math – even fractions, one of the most challenging concepts – but that’s okay because they haven’t been lectured to all day long.” Nikanetan is an experiential education program for students in grade 8. The focus is on teamwork and leadership and is designed to re-engage youth who are at risk of dropping out of school. The program is based out of Westmount Community School. All equipment, transportation, and food costs are covered by the program so money is not a barrier to participation.
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING In experiential learning, students learn by doing and participating. Building quinzhees under different snow conditions is an opportunity to explore structures and how snow works. Shopping for groceries before a camping trip requires mathematics. “Experiential learning has been around for thousands of years,” Chris says. “And it works. The kids will tell you that they’ve never been so engaged with education and their teachers as they are in this program.” 05
OUTDOOR LEARNING Chris can’t imagine teaching without being outdoors. “Being outdoors changes the tone, the mood. We know the difference if the students haven’t been outdoors for a while,” he says. The students go camping within two weeks of starting the program and it plays a valuable role in establishing relationships. The class went up north for a four-day camping trip last year. Chris remembers one student stepping off the bus, heaving a sigh of relief, and saying “This is the absolute best.” Camping takes students away from all the stress of home and city life. Everything is safe – the people, the activities. They have a list of things they’d like to do, but there’s no clock and if they don’t get everything done, it doesn’t matter. Learning happens more naturally and more easily outdoors. “We sat in a teepee at Brightwater yesterday and had a 45-minute lecture on hypothermia,” Chris says. “It was unusual, but the students were interested because it was relevant and they were outdoors.”
SUSTAINABILITY Nikanetan focuses on teamwork and leadership in order to re-engage students. Sustainability and the environment are not core components of this program. “Environmentalism, sustainability, recycling are things you do when you’re rich,” Chris says. “Environmentalism, sustainability, recycling are
easier to do when you are well-off,” Chris says. “It can be difficult to buy quality products that can be fixed or local, organic food if you are having problems making ends meet.” Knowing their students’ backgrounds, the teachers don’t tell students what to do. “We tell students what science is saying about the future and then ask them what they can do,” Chris explains. Each student is expected to choose a sustainability project. Their goal is to make an impact with the hope that this will become an attitude that they will maintain throughout their lives. Last year the students raised money for breast cancer and a school in Africa. “They didn’t feel they could have an impact on sustainability, but they could help others who had less than them,” Chris says. Sustainability projects typically involve sharing information with others (e.g. other classes), which also fits with the leadership focus of the program. It’s difficult to offer in-depth nature studies – “With 28 grade 8 kids, how many bears do you think there are around? We don’t even hear birds.” – but Chris says that they take advantage of any opportunity that comes their way. Drumming is a chance to not only make music but to learn about the history of drumming, hide-making and animals. On visits to Pike Lake, they observe how the scenery changes with the seasons.
WORDS OF ADVICE Chris emphasizes the importance of getting outdoors: “You don’t need tons of money to go outside or to go camping. Just do it.”
www.ecofriendlysask.ca Photos provided by Chris Clark, Saskatoon Public Schools
EVENTS June is Recreation & Parks Month
June 1 - 30, 2016 (Saskatchewan Communities) Celebrate June is Recreation & Parks Month and the return of summer programming by gathering residents together, getting children involved in fun outdoor physical activities and recognizing employees and volunteers who contribute to the recreation and parks opportunities we all use. Find out how you can get involved! Visit www.spra.sk.ca/jrpm.
November 4 - 6, 2016 (Saskatoon, SK) Join fellow fitness enthusiasts at Saskatchewan’s premier fitness and health conference for an outstanding weekend of workshops, lectures and special events to inspire, educate and motivate! Visit www.spra.sk.ca/saskfit.
October 27 - 29, 2016 (Regina SK) Join us in October 2016 for the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association’s Conference and Annual General Meeting, hosted in conjunction with the Communities in Bloom National Symposium on Parks and Grounds and National and International Awards Ceremonies. We’re calling this joint national conference Healthy Communities: Harvesting the Benefits. Visit www.spra.sk.ca/conference. For information on upcoming events, visit www.spra.sk.ca/events.
DID YOU KNOW? 79.7% of people in Saskatchewan agree that green spaces make a large contribution to their community Find out more about recreation and quality of life in Saskatchewan! www.spra.sk.ca/survey
GEOCACHING IN NATURE What would bring you to walk along the river on a crisp winter morning, to stroll through a forest on a hot summer day, to drive down a grid road in the middle of nowhere? Geocaching of course!
Geocaching is a fantastic way to encourage people to connect with nature while getting exercise, exploring new areas and having fun. Whether you are caching alone, seeking serenity on a nature trail, or are communing with nature in your neighbourhood park with family - geocaching will take you outside.
You might be asking yourself – What is Geocaching? It is an outdoor hobby that combines technology and nature by using GPS (Global Positioning Satellites), although a lot newer cachers instead are using a geocaching app on an Iphone. The whole point of geocaching is to navigate to a specific set of co-ordinates to locate the geocache hidden at that location. It is a worldwide treasure hunt that is done in over 300 countries worldwide by thousands of people seeking out millions of geocaches. To find out co-ordinates for a geocache or to learn everything there is to know about geocaching, connect to the website www.geocaching.com. All you need to get started is to log in, make up a moniker that will be your code name and start researching where you want to go. You would be surprised at how many geocaches are right near where you live. A typical geocache is a waterproof container containing a logbook (which the cacher writes the date and their code name on). Larger containers will contain items, trinkets and tradeables. Sometimes travel bugs will be placed in a geocache – they are items with a trackable number that move from cache to cache.
An exciting way to explore the natural world is with Geocaching! Whether it be in a rural setting or an urban area, kids can learn navigational skills with a reward of finding real treasure! Nature hikes while geocaching can mean different things to different cachers. Some like the exercise and fresh air, while others like the photo opportunities. There are wildlife sightings, birdwatching, history lessons, science lessons and all kinds of things to learn. Caching will take you off the beaten track to amazing places around the province – places that you normally would not go to. Nature often refers to the natural environment – we often think of plants and animals and the geology of the earth. When you place a geocache it is important to try to pick a spot that does not disturb what is already there. No digging, cutting, burrowing, chopping or nailing caches to a tree. Evan if a cache is placed in a group of trees, after 50 cachers find that cache following the same path, some destruction of vegetation could occur. So placing caches near trailheads is a good idea to minimize damage to the natural world. Mother Earth loves environmentally placed geocaches. Bushwhacking happens when a cache is placed deep in the woods or bushes. You will possibly encounter thick bush, branches in your eyes, thorns, thistles, bugs/ticks, poor footing with fallen logs, sharp or slippery rocks, water hazards and wildlife. Safety is a concern - so be prepared.
Here are some tips to make your hike enjoyable and safe.
PLAN YOUR ROUTE AND PACK FOR A HIKE Certain items come in handy on a caching excursion such as tweezers, hat, first aid kit, camera, bug spray, pens, suitable clothing, sunscreen, eye protection, gloves, notebook, cellphone, snacks, water and a walking stick for poking around the leaves as well as for balance.
USE YOUR EYES While caching in a forest, the co-ordinates of your GPS can be off a bit. So expanding your search until you spot something out of place is a good idea. Often caches are hidden by twigs stacked like a mini teepee.
CACHE IN TRASH OUT IS WHAT ALL GOOD CACHERS DO Leave no trace when caching and always bring along a trash bag and as you walk pick up litter. Stay on trails as you cache so not to disturb the natural surroundings if possible. Cache with like-minded people – it is safer and fun to meet new people.
June is Recreation & Parks Month Celebrate the return of summer programming, gather residents together, get children involved in fun outdoor physical activities and recognize employees and volunteers who contribute to the recreation and parks opportunities we all use. Ideas on how you can support JRPM: ■ Dedicate an existing park in honour of a person or event and celebrate its dedication annually. ■ Start a walking club! ■ Host a community picnic. ■ Make a June is Recreation & Parks Month Proclamation at your next Town Council meeting. ■ Acknowledge the important role that professionals and volunteers play within the recreation and parks delivery system. Visit www.spra.sk.ca/jrpm for more information!
LEARN TO CAMP
Throughout the year – your local geocaching association holds get togethers and different events such as CITO (Cache in trash out) events to clean up neighbourhood parks. There are Christmas parties, summer barbecues, 24 hr cache-athons Cache and Release events. Geocaching is for all ages, from retired folks to families with young children. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are camping at Emma Lake, hiking in Cypress Hills, visiting relatives in Moose Mountain Park, geocaching can be a fun activity to add to your summer adventures while being out in nature. But be careful – geocaching is a healthy addiction!
President of the Saskatoon and Area Geocaching Association
Are you interested in the idea of camping but don’t know where to start? Saskatchewan Parks and our Learn to Camp program can help! Three ways to learn: Overnight camping experience: Choose an overnight experience at one of three participating parks! We supply all of the camping equipment you will need. You supply your own food, bedding, and personal items. Community programs: Learn all about Saskatchewan Parks and camping in a community near you.
Visit www.saskparks.net June 2016
DALMENY LIKES TO MOVE IT, MOVE IT!
LEARNING TO SPEND TIME WITH THE SEASONS
Winter can be bitter cold, but breathtakingly beautiful. Autumn, cool and wet, but blissfully free of bugs. Spring in Saskatchewan is usually synonymous with mud, but it also urges life and greenery back into the world. And summer brings back said bugs, but it also brings the beach. Most Saskatchewan residents would be quick to admit it’s easy to have a ‘love-hate’ relationship with all four seasons this province offers. However, just as in any good relationship, a true appreciation can really come from spending quality time with the natural world. The key is in learning to understand the strengths of the seasons, and SaskOutdoors offers a variety of opportunities to get to know each, beautiful in their own way, in a variety of safe and fun settings across the province. SPRING - NATIVE PRAIRIE APPRECIATION SPRING CAMP This spring, SaskOutdoors is sponsoring a Spring Camp from June 17-19, alongside the Prairie Conservation Action Plan’s ‘Native Prairie Appreciation Meeting and Tour.’ Enjoy the warmer weather that the Cypress Hills offers at this time of year and see many of the first spring and summer plants and animals come into season. Activities include canoeing, geocaching, hiking, night games, campfires, and a potluck, all in celebration of our special native prairie spaces.
SUMMER - ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION WORKSHOPS Take some time this summer to learn about a few different ways to share your love of nature with others! Whether you work in education, are part of a nature-based organization, or just love teaching others about connecting with the environment in a positive way, SaskOutdoors offers a number of courses to equip outdoor educators of all types. More information on program offerings such as Project WET, Project WILD, Below Zero, Flying WILD, Growing Up WILD, and WILD About Sports is available on the website.
AUTUMN: NATURE RETREAT Autumn is a special time in the boreal forests of Saskatchewan. SaskOutdoors’ Nature Retreat captures one last snapshot of the color, diversity, and beauty that resides there, just before the first snow falls. Participants can choose to stay in cabins or tent, and enjoy sharing meals, stories, hikes and 09
other activities together. The schedule is relaxed and informal, with plenty of opportunity for exploration. This weekend draws people from all over the province, and is a great opportunity to meet and engage with other people looking for a deeper relationship with the land.
WINTER: WINTER CAMP WORKSHOP Although winter may seem the unlikeliest time of year to go camping, it offers a particularly unique opportunity to connect with nature. Even the summer’s busiest parks and campgrounds transform into quiet retreats, sparkling with frost and blanketed with untouched snow. To take advantage of everything winter camping has to offer, it’s important to learn the basics of spending extended time outdoors in the cold. SaskOutdoors hosts a Winter Camp workshop that brings experts and beginners together to learn new skills and gain hands-on experience. During the overnight workshop, participants learn how to choose the right gear, how to stay warm and dry, how to cook winter-friendly meals, and how to keep camp clean. Activities can also include learning to cross country ski, snowshoe, or hike, depending on conditions, and gear is available for loan. For more information on SaskOutdoors, including event calendars, membership applications, access to our journal, photos, and other exciting resources, visit our website at www.saskoutdoors.org.
SaskOutdoors Board Member
SASKATCHEWAN WILDLIFE FEDERATION
YOUTH CONSERVATION CAMP Every summer, young members of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation branches travel to to the north end of Candle Lake, Saskatchewan for a week unlike any other. They hunt, fish and learn survival skills. They discover a self-confidence they never knew they had. They build lifelong friendships. They attend the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation Youth Conservation Camp. The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) Youth Conservation Camp, held at the Hannin Creek Education Facility, was developed to offer young people the opportunity to learn and experience the great outdoors. The Camp has been an ongoing success for over 30 years, and continues to thrive, welcoming a new group of campers each summer. The Hannin Creek Education Facility provides the perfect location for the SWF Conservation Camp. A partnership between the SWF and Saskatchewan Polytechnic, the camp is located in the beautiful Boreal Forest in remote northern Saskatchewan on the shores of Candle Lake. At camp, boys and girls aged 12 to 15 are given handson learning in a wide range of outdoor activities including archery, canoeing, shooting, trapping, wildlife and plant identification, survival skills, camp cooking, fisheries studies, map and compass use, and so much more. Each day at camp brings new challenges and new adventures. One of the perennial favourites is fisheries studies. Campers learn proper fishing tactics, fish identification and anatomy, along with water and boat safety. A fish fry on the beach is the perfect way to end a day of learning. When on land, campers are shown the different wildlife habitats, archery, knife safety, plant identification, knot tying and trapping. The week of learning culminates with the annual Bushman and Bushwoman challenge. Skills learned are put to the test, and campers showcase and celebrate their new leadership and teamwork skills. With camp-outs under the stars and daily connections to nature, the SWF Youth Conservation Camp provides youth with the opportunity to get away from their technology driven world. They experience the benefits of being in nature first hand. They thrill in the sense of independence and accomplishment that comes from starting a fire from nothing but twigs; they learn the importance of the simple things in life,
like waking up with the birds or watching a moose bathe in the creek with her calf; they learn to understand and respect just how diverse our natural world is; and, as they roast marshmallows over the campfire while the Northern lights dance overhead, they learn to take time to reflect on life. The SWF Youth Conservation Camp will continue to offer the opportunity to youth across the province to experience all that Saskatchewanâ€™s wildlife has to offer. The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation is a non-profit, nongovernment, charitable organization of over 34,000 members in 123 branches across Saskatchewan representing every walk of life. Per capita, we are the largest wildlife conservation organization of its kind in the world. Established in 1929, the SWF has become an acknowledged leader in the conservation field. For more information on the SWF Youth Conservation Camp, the Hannin Creek Education Facility, or any of the other SWF programs, contact the SWF at 306-692-8812, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.swf.sk.ca.
SWF Education Coordinator June 2016
J.H. MOORE ELEMENTARY
SCHOOL GARDEN How can your community develop a school garden? Have all your questions answered by Susan Plant, the Principle of J.H. Moore Elementary School in Lashburn, as interviewed by SPRA.
Where did the idea or concept of a community garden at J.H. Moore Elementary School come from? The idea came from just wanting to rejuvenate the yard around our school and making it a brighter happier looking place.
What were the reasons behind the development of the garden – curriculum; food security; getting the students more involved with the natural world/nature; others?
At this time, we were developing plans for a healthy salad bar program and improved social/emotional health, resiliency, and a sense of belonging at the school. We were also trying to develop positive connections to our community and to encourage our students to connect with their grandparents and parents about the significance of garden spaces in their family stories.
How did you move from the idea to actually having the garden at the school? How long have you had the garden?
We applied to be part of Culture Days in 2013. I participated in some discussion with staff members about how we could use art to rejuvenate the grounds and include gardens – and most importantly include the children and adults at our school – Karly King suggested making the pallet gardens and also add some painted tires as flower beds. So the first ‘phase’ was to use our Culture Day Artists to help us with the building of the pallet gardens and planting in the spring. The older students actually helped to build them and paint while the younger students in Grades 1-2 planted the seedlings – we wanted flowers, but also vegetables to harvest for our Fall Fair that we held at the school in September of 2013.
What was the initial reaction to the idea before it was implemented by the school, students and community? There was a cautious optimism from educators at the school – I think most of us were wondering about how much this was going to add to our work loads. But it connects in so many ways to curriculums plus it was nice to see the excitement of the students as we talked about the plans with them.
Many of our families offered to help out – we sent home requests for extra seeds, bedding plants, and volunteers to help the kids with planting, etc. We had so many donations it was overwhelming. As we have continued to grow gardens, we also have had donations of garden soil, lumber, carpentry to help with building more garden spaces, and even the involvement of a professor from the University of Saskatchewan inquiring into rural education. Not only do the gardens provide nutritious food for the student body and community members (during the summer, families come and pick and use the vegetables as they ripen), but the gardens also provide opportunities for so many of our other programming to be successful. So far it has been a great motivator for the students; their engagement in the project has been evident all along the way.
Can you give me any details on how you move through the garden season from planting to harvest? Who looks after the garden over the summer months? What is planted in the garden? What is done with the items that are grown when they are ready to harvest?
Right now seedlings are grown all over the school in classrooms. Teachers sorted out who would grow what and where. Tending the beds (weeding, watering, etc.) is usually on my To-Do list and I ask teachers for names of students who would
benefit from some time out of the classroom to participate. Students who are in families where gardening is not part of their activities, students who need some mentoring/counselling/support for any reason/ and those who can be student mentors are on my list for helpers. Whole classes also volunteer to ‘look after’ a certain bed – watering, etc. Items that were ready to be harvested over the summer were often picked and eaten by students who had wandered over to the yard to play. I had a few parents contact me through our Facebook page to ask about picking lettuce, radish, and spinach as it was ready. It was very casual and natural how it has evolved. Weeding and watering over the summer was a bit trickier – the town helped me out when I was away for holidays for a week but otherwise I would just head over to the school and check it. I watered it when needed. This year we might try to have a schedule arranged.
What has been the reaction/feedback to the community garden now that is an ongoing part of the school – school, students, and community?
It has been such a great experience – all the feedback is so positive. Already this spring families and community members are asking how they can help with it all. The gardens benefit all of our students as they learn about the various aspects of gardening. They also provide the families who are struggling
with fresh vegetables, in a non-judgmental and a non-invasive manner. The community is free to come and pick as they need. When looking at all of the programs and opportunities offered by these gardens, they are all related to improved nutrition and health. This program is very unique to our division and area which has given the students, staff and community member’s a sense of pride and ownership to the gardens. The addition of this program has expanded the ways of teaching and sharing that we are able to offer our students and their families.
What outcomes have been attained?
It has been such a positive experience. We have created a real sense of community through this garden, our students are involved in every step along the way and it has helped us establish that our school is focused on positive, healthy, and active endeavors. In 2014, we started to launch a nutritious and healthy school culture that has become the norm and expectation for all students to be a part of. The gardens provide jobs for our Life Skills students who are working on responsibility and healthy eating. Along with the benefits for students, staff and community members, we also have improved the outside appearance of the school and yard as well to make the center seem so much more inviting. ̃J.H. Moore Elementary School commits to begin more improvements to the community garden in the spring of 2016 and continue through to fall of 2016.
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The June 2016 edition of DIRECTION magazine, official magazine of the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association. This month's theme is...