Education & Research
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder… he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” — Rachel Carson
Groundbreaking research conducted in the last decade indicates direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and the physical and emotional health of children and adults.
Place-based experiential education will be the focus and constitute the main activities of the Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society. The lands targeted for purchase and locally known as the ‘Children’s Forest’, will provide the primary nature base, including both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. These lands include large intact ecosystems with a range of natural features including salmon bearing streams, which make them a rare and especially suitable environment for nature-based educational experiences for children.
Immediate connectivity to neighbouring regional district park reserve lands at Carrington Bay will facilitate expanding programs to the watershed level of study.
Educational programming will include activities such as:
- a. skills workshops in mapping & orienteering, wilderness survival, nature-based artistic interpretation, barefoot mapping, youth leadership, natural history observational & identification training, interpretative training, and Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) Streamkeeper, Wetlandkeeper and Shorekeeper training & certification;
- b. day camps for 6-12 year olds and multiday overnight camps for 13-18 year olds, to immerse children in place-based nature study with an emphasis on becoming ecoliterate citizens.
Programme scheduling will vary seasonally:
- a. nature-based skills training will occur throughout the year;
- b. camps will occur during the summer months of July & August.
Instruction will be provided:
- a. to children primarily and the general public secondarily, with an emphasis on nature-based studies for children, parents and families;
- b. by certified teachers, outdoor educators, researchers from various disciplines and community volunteers including youth apprentices.
“Look deep into Nature and you will understand everything better.” — Albert Einstein
Long-term environmental monitoring programs will be established on both the terrestrial and marine components of the purchased lands, adopting scientific methodologies that provide scientifically defensible research data.
Research will be undertaken using a ‘citizen science’ approach using discipline specific, professional leadership working together with community volunteers in apprenticeship.
Research will include:
- a. enhancing the global information systems (GIS) mapping of said lands and the application of enduring features (DIEM project 2013/2014);
- b. annual (fall & spring) salmon enhancement conducted in the James Creek watershed with the participation of local children (Cortes Island Elementary Junior Secondary School and network of homeschoolers), Klahoose First Nation, DFO Community Advisor and Quinsam Hatchery (Campbell River, BC);
- c. conducting annual inventories of species and plant communities with an emphasis on species and plant communities at-risk to update the MOE CDC data base for Cortes Island;
- d. monitoring sensitive ecosystems for climate change, species loss and compositional change;
- e. documenting wildlife use, especially large predators, of said lands to provide insight into greater landscape level use by wildlife; liaise and work with MOE Conservation Officer Service (COS).