The Stewards in Training program, first launched by the Salt Spring Island Conservancy in 2002, has been a staple of school life for island students.
According to the conservancy’s website, the program is influenced by Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, a much-touted book by Richard Louv, and is guided by B.C. education ministry policies on environment learning.
This summer the conservancy has offered a different kind of ecological education, aimed at kids aged six to 12 who are accompanied by an adult. Called Family Adventures in Nature, the free Saturday drop-in sessions led by Stewards in Training facilitator Cathy Lenihan have had a different focus each week.
Anne Parkinson attended last Saturday’s session, called Batty Over Bats, with her five-year-old granddaughter Audrey Sloan from Powell River.
“My granddaughter loved the variety of activities,” said Parkinson. “She talked with the very fun naturalist to learn new facts — and hugged her at the end — shared hands-on demonstrations and displays of native plants and animals, including skeletons, walked around the lake finding each item in her treasure hunt booklet, and wrapped up her session with delicious snacks. She was in awe and spent the week remembering special highlights from the morning.”
This Saturday, Aug. 18 is the last in the summer series, when the painted turtle will be the star of the show for the session running from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Families can drop in at any time during the three hours.) In the fall and spring months, more programs will be offered.
Activities include arts and crafts, learning nature songs, identifying wildlife species, clay mask-making and more.
For more on this story, see the Aug. 15, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.