A class from École Willows School gets a unique opportunity to explore the Salish Sea from a whale watching boat, as a result of a partnership between Eagle Wing Tours, the Royal BC Museum and SD61. (Sandra Gabaglia photo)

Students sail and study the Salish Sea

Floating classroom a partnership between Eagle Wing Tours, Royal BC Museum, SD61

Elementary and middle school students in the Greater Victoria School District get to sail the Salish Sea on a floating classroom to explore the history, culture and environment of the area thanks to a new partnership between Eagle Wing Tours, the Royal BC Museum and SD61.

Launched this school year, the unique learning opportunity allows youth to engage with the curriculum from within the natural environment they call home.

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Classes work with a naturalist over a three-week period to study the natural and cultural history of the Salish Sea. The naturalist visits the classroom twice to talk to the students about the connections between the land and the watershed, before the group heads out to sea for a three-hour wildlife and whale watching trip with Eagle Wing Tours.

The group takes a catamaran into the Strait of Georgia and all the way down to Puget Sound, exploring as they go.

“We are thrilled to be establishing partnerships in the community that provide our students with memorable learning experiences,” said board chair Jordan Watters. “We know that immersive learning opportunities like this offer students new perspectives as well as improve their focus and knowledge retention. We are always striving to enhance the student’s learning experience.”

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After the boat trip, the students take their experiences back to the classroom and and turn their questions and findings about the Salish Sea into projects that will be put on display at an open house at the Royal BC Museum on April 17.

The new floating classroom program is offered to SD61 students in grades four to eight. As a result of being well-received in its first year, the program will be expanding in the 2019-20 school year.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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