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Online resource to help Alberta kids continue studies on outdoor life during coronavirus

Even amid the coronavirus, Calgary kids can still enjoy and learn about the great outdoors from home.

With the closure of schools due to COVID-19, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Southern Alberta Chapter (CPAWS-SAB) has released a new online resource for teachers and students to help kids continue learning and connecting with nature.

This online resource, called Bring Nature Home, will compile games and educational resources in line with the school curriculum that parents can do with their children while they are at home with their families.

It will also be given to teachers to assist them in creating their new online learning modules.

The education team at CPAWS-SAB created Bring Nature Home to keep kids thinking about the importance of nature. Especially after the temporary closure of all national parks facilities due to COVID-19.

Information on several environmental topics

Hira Shah, the Climate Literacy Educator at CPAWS-SAB, believes that environmental education does not have to be put on hold.

“My hope is that this toolkit will help teachers and parents continue to teach Canadian youth about the benefits of our natural environment,” said Shah.

Bring Nature Home includes informational resources for topics such as ecosystems, species at risk, climate change, and water cycles to help kids continue learning things they would in a classroom setting.

“I know things look bleak right now with the current situation, including our parks closing, but it’s especially important now to keep thinking about nature, even while we are all staying home,” Shah said.

Studies have shown that even looking at a picture of nature can help fight against depression and cabin fever, which many Canadians are likely facing right now, she said.

Help for teachers’ online lesson planning

The toolkit will also help with lesson planning for teachers, who are already struggling with having to adapt their lessons for an online learning setting so quickly.

“We are working on creating new online lesson plans, but the more help and support we can get with rolling out these lesson plans as quickly as possible, the faster we can get the students back on schedule,” said Meghan Tran, a CBE school teacher.

CPAWS-SAB holds programs in classrooms, interpretive hikes/snowshoe treks and summer programs around southern Alberta teaching students about the benefits of Alberta parks and natural areas, and the actions they can take to do keep them wild.

CPAWS-SAB also recently launched two new programs for adults and youth, including topics on climate change and Alberta’s grassland ecosystems.

They will begin holding programs again as soon as the need for social distancing is no longer required.

“Whether digitally or in person, CPAWS wants to make sure that environmental education can be accessed by all Canadians,” said Shah.

Those interested in the education toolkit, or any of their other programs can contact:

Jaclyn Angotti, Education Director
CPAWS Southern Alberta
@cpawssab on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter