In addition to our research questions, fieldwork provides many other opportunities for learning. Last week, our bear field crew had the inspiring experience of participating in Discovery Week at Bella Bella Community School. During this week, youth discover culture, science, health and the environment through hand-on activities as diverse as seaweed picking, crab fishing, cheese making, hiking, boat trips, rocket-launching and paddle board lessons.
Like the dedicated group of teachers, assistants and parents who organize and support Discovery Week every year, our Raincoast team feels strongly that hands-on learning is the best way to inspire young people about the environment and conservation. Raincoast has participated in the week’s events by making classroom visits and leading field trips for five years. This year, we teamed up with Let’s Talk Science—a nation-wide science outreach program—to deliver several workshops to students ranging from nursery to grade 12. From DNA to the way animals use their senses to wildlife research, the workshops were designed to be fun, hands on and educational.
After two packed days of facilitating workshops, we’d had a lot of fun but were completely exhausted. All of us were left with a feeling of appreciation for the job teachers do on a daily basis. We were also inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of the Heiltsuk youth we had met and the organizing committee that made Discovery Week possible. We will carry that energy with us back into the field as we start the next phase of our bear research.