The new educational wetland at Mackenzie Secondary School will not only provide valuable habitat for wildlife but also be an “outdoor learning lab” for students.
May 27, 2021 – The B.C. Wildlife Federation’s (BCWF) Wetlands Education Program will be in Mackenzie, B.C. from May 31 to June 4 to build an educational wetland at Mackenzie Secondary School (District of Mackenzie, School District 57), provide wetland restoration training in collaboration with McLeod Lake Indian Band and host a planting event at the schoolyard wetland at Morfee Elementary School.
“The BCWF’s Wetlands Education Program is thrilled to be returning to Mackenzie with continued support from the District of Mackenzie, local schools and McLeod Lake Indian Band. These communities have a strong appreciation for wetlands, and the BCWF looks forward to supporting opportunities for wetland conservation and restoration in this region.” Alyssa Purse, BCWF Wetlands Education Program Coordinator and Project Lead said.
The construction of the wetland at Mackenzie Secondary School will take place between June 3-4. Robin Annschild, Wetland Restoration Specialist, and owner/operator of Wetland Restoration Consulting Ltd. will lead the construction of the wetland, with original project design by Tom Biebighauser, a wildlife biologist and wetland ecologist with four decades of experience in wetland and stream restoration. Robin Annschild has directed the construction of 275 wetlands, has restored on 33 sites across British Columbia and completed four stream restoration projects in the East and West Kootenay as well as the Cowichan Valley. Students at Mackenzie Secondary School will be involved in aspects of the wetland build to instill a sense of ownership and stewardship of the project.
“We have found that students who receive hands-on participation in building a wetland at their school are more likely to care for it as it fosters a sense of ownership and stewardship over the wetland. Raising a generation of youth who have become land-stewards and care about the environment is key to conservation and sustainability far into the future.” Alyssa Purse, BCWF Wetlands Education Program Coordinator and Project Lead said.
The educational wetland at Mackenzie Secondary School was proposed in 2019 by Kyle Tapper, a teacher at Mackenzie Secondary School, to provide an outdoor learning lab for STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). This “outdoor learning lab” will give students unparalleled opportunities to investigate animals, plants, soils, and water through hands-on, experiential learning right on their school grounds. The newly constructed wetland will represent a safe and constructive environment for students to explore and reinforce basic concepts in math and science while gaining an appreciation and understanding for a valuable ecosystem important for wildlife and society. Projects like this reinforce connections with nature and help foster deep-seated respect for the services that these highly productive ecosystems provide.
The BCWF Wetlands Education Program will also provide training on wetland restoration during their time in Mackenzie. In collaboration with McLeod Lake Indian Band, the team will host a three-day workshop from May 31st to June 2nd to teach wetland restoration techniques to band members and District of Mackenzie staff. The workshop will be held alongside a native planting event at Morfee Elementary School on June 2nd where the BCWF Wetlands Education Program built an educational wetland of 130 m2 in 2019.
These three events are funded by Wildlife Habitat Canada, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program-Peace, and the Government of British Columbia.
Learn more about BCWF’s Wetlands Education Program.