The Victoria Foundation’s Vital Signs report identifies environmental sustainability as a key piece of a healthy, vibrant community.
And since 2009, volunteers from the Peninsula Streams Society have been teaching habitat restoration and conservation to school children across the saanich peninsula.
“In nine years” explains Peninsula Streams Executive Coordinator Ian Bruce, “we’ve had over five-thousand kids go through ‘Creatures of Habitat‘.
“What we try to do is educate them about native species, educate them about invasive species at the same time, and have them have an opportunity to do work outside, and see things in nature.”
On this day, volunteers are working with colquitz middle school students.
Colquitz middle school teacher Laura-Lyn Helton points along the shores of Colquitz Creek, across the road from the school.
“There’s six classes of grade sixes, and they get to come out and breathe fresh air, and do some good in the world, and feel really good and proud about what they’ve accomplished” Helton says.
“They also had stuff inside the school with touch tanks from fisheries trust, and saw all kinds of sea creatures, and had another environmental game that was very interactive, and then an environmental Jeopardy game, so a lot of fun and a lot of learning!”
Learning that includes some life skills too, such as “working as a team, and communicating, and respecting the volunteers that showed up” says Helton.
Mary Haig-Brown is a long-time Peninsula Streams Society volunteer.
“I’m on the board of Peninsula Streams, and I just love doing Creatures of Habitat!
“They get interested in what this plant is, and what are we taking out and what are we leaving in, and why, and so I get to talk about these native plants, as opposed to invasive plants, it’s fun, it’s just really fun!”
And if you have some time to spare this week, and want to join in the fun, Peninsula Streams Society could use your help.
“We’re looking for volunteers” explains Ian Bruce.
“They are assigned anywhere from six to eight students, they help supervise them, so school safety and in the activity.
“So anybody that’s interested in working with kids, working outdoors, and helping the environment is welcome.”
Volunteers are needed at Royal Oak Middle School April 19 and 20th, and Bayside Middle School April 21. Click here for more information if you’d like to help.