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Media Release: Woodstock High School Students Help Nature as a Result of Species at Risk Boot Camp

WCI students holds a native snake

Woodstock – May 4th , 2015 – Take an idea and run with it!  That’s what Woodstock Collegiate Institute (WCI) high school students are doing as a result of Carolinian Canada’s Grow Wild! Species at Risk Boot Camps. This special workshop series is providing them with information and ideas so they can develop their own nature-friendly outreach projects.

On Friday, April 24, 2015, fifteen students from WCI’s science classes, Eco Club and the Enrichment Club completed the Grow Wild! Boot Camp offered by Carolinian Canada Coalition. They learned about the Carolinian Life Zone through live snake demonstrations, presentations and games. Afterward, they proposed projects to address local issues. 

This is the first workshop of its kind for the area.  Last year, Carolinian Canada delivered workshops to high school students in Chatham-Kent, Essex, Elgin and Niagara to teach them about the importance of local nature and empower them to help. Many of the species living in this area of southern Ontario are in peril. Currently, more than 500 species are listed as rare, endangered or threatened.

The Woodstock students expressed keen interest in pollinators.  There is currently an outdoor classroom at the school and the students hope to plant some native wildflowers to help out Monarchs and other pollinators. Plant sponsorship and bee condo sales were ideas they came up with during the Boot Camp to fundraise for the project.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn about the wealth of species and habitats in our own southern Ontario backyard,” says Mrs. Marano, WCI’s Enrichment teacher. “Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to handle snakes, test out a citizen science program and brainstorm ways they can help as a team.  I’m excited about moving forward with some of their ideas.”

Environmental educator, Lauren Selby, notes students typically suggest people can “bike more” or “plant trees” as ways to help nature. But by the workshop’s conclusion, Selby receives more informed, impassioned answers to the same question. “Students tell me about the huge need for more environmental education, describe the importance of planting native plants and let me know that Ontario’s snakes are harmless and should not be hurt.” She says, “At the end of the day, the empowerment and connection to their local environment is incredible.” 

It is the cumulative positive impact of local actions, such as those taken by Boot Camp graduates, that fuels Carolinian Canada’s Big Picture vision of connecting people to nature and creating an ecologically linked landscape. Carolinian Canada Coalition plans to continue to seek funding for next school year to reach new students as well re-visit and support existing campaigns.

Carolinian Canada Coalition is thankful for the support of Oxford Mutual Insurance Company for making this workshop possible.

About Carolinian Canada Coalition:  Carolinian Canada Coalition brings together diverse groups and individuals to advance a collaborative conservation strategy for healthy ecosystems and thriving communities in the Carolinian Life Zone.  Stretching from Toronto to Windsor, Canada’s Deep South is among North America’s most vibrant and fragile ecoregions.

For Media Contact and Inquiries or to learn more about opportunities for your school:

Bronwen Buck, Outreach Coordinator, bbuck@carolinian.org, 519-341-3199

Lauren Selby, Environmental Educator, 519-994-4326

Website: caroliniancanada.ca

Photo: (Left) Hands-on learning generates new appreciation for Ontario's native snakes; (Middle) Mrs. Marano's team celebrates at the end of the Boot Camp; (Right) Students present ideas for a poster campaign. Photo credits: Bronwen Buck and Lauren Selby

 

For higher resolution photos, visit: https://carolinian.box.com/s/r5wlo04uk0k2x7hxv257

 

 Boot Camp photos

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Carolinian Canada Coalition brings together diverse groups and individuals to advance a collaborative conservation strategy for healthy ecosystems and thriving communities in the Carolinian Life Zone. Stretching from Toronto to Windsor, Canada’s Deep South is among North America’s most vibrant and fragile ecoregions.

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