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PHOTOS: Students spread Salish Sea stewardship messages

Educational partnership with Eagle Wing tours results in Salish Sea Museum

Salish Sea facts spill from the lips of dozens of students at Willows elementary as they commit to becoming water stewards.

Seven classes of Grade 4 and 5 students set up individual displays in the library, classrooms and hallway, each answering the question they started with: How will you be a steward to the Salish Sea?

It’s all a part of the award-winning educational partnership with Eagle Wing Tours as students and parents explored the Salish Sea museum on Dec. 1. Launched in fall 2018, the program combines classroom and experiential learning to ignite a passion for ocean conservation in Greater Victoria School District (SD61) students.

The program is highly sought-after, said teacher Leah Edgley, who led one class through its exploration.

After some in-class preparation, students took an educational tour with Eagle Wing in October, referenced heavily by students in their museum presentations. The curriculum focuses on the natural history, including historical culture and Indigenous perspectives alongside current culture, including natural resources and the economy, environmental stewardship, conservation, sustainability and more.

Plus they see all the wildlife to put it into context.

“They teach all about the organisms in the Salish Sea,” Edgley said.

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As the students answered the questions posed to them, they were tasked with creating a presentation board for the “museum” finale.

The presentations required several elements, Edgley explained. They must outline what they did, have at least one map, facts, photos and an artefact. Working in groups of one to three students, the teams really shone when it came to ideas on stewardship, and the resulting artefacts.

One group sent postcards all over the world sharing facts about the Salish Sea and a solo student created a hardcover book. Another group created classroom lessons with help from their certified teachers and then taught them to younger kids.

For their stewardship part of the project, Benji Hinds and Greg Higginbottom wanted to do something for Bowker Creek, seeing as it’s right in their community.

After a little research, they discovered the Friends of Bowker Creek and fundraised for the group.

The idea, Higginbottom said, was to donate it to an organization that already had the expertise.

They broadcast their plan on the school announcements, made a poster and promoted the cookie sale that raised $285, Hinds said.

The money translated to one Oregon ash tree planted next to the creek adjacent to Oak Bay High.

Jackson Edgley also raised funds for an agency that tackles pollution, the focus of his presentation. He created an ice cream in partnership with Oak Bay business 49 Below and raised $173 for the Sea Doc Society.

Eagle Wing Tours was among five organizations awarded for outstanding work by the BC Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association (BCPVPA) this spring for exactly this program.

The awards recognize time and expertise residents dedicate to supporting students and schools across the province. Eagle Wing Tours was nominated by the Greater Victoria Chapter of BCPVPA (SD61).


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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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