Community Papers

Demand keeps growing for Wild Voices for Kids program

Wild Voices for Kids educator, Sharon Morgan, takes students from Windermere elementary on an outdoor adventure in spectacular Kootenay National Park.   - Submitted photo
Wild Voices for Kids educator, Sharon Morgan, takes students from Windermere elementary on an outdoor adventure in spectacular Kootenay National Park.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Demand for the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network’s (CBEEN) Wild Voices for Kids program is growing and is looking for local support before this spring’s busy field trip season.

Since CBEEN began offering the program in 2009, it has made it possible for over 40,000 students from across the Columbia Basin to receive curriculum-linked presentations and field trips.

Currently the program has 79 local experts who offer 135 different curriculum-linked programs to schools across the Columbia Basin.

Through these programs students can participate in activities such as snowshoeing, avalanche safety training, pond explorations and excursions to see the Kokanee Salmon spawning.

Program coordinator Susie MacDonald explains, “Teachers can book these presentations online, and we offer funding for bussing as well as a small honoraria for educators. As a result, on average it only costs us ten dollars per student per program.”

CBEEN’s goal this year is to secure $125,000 towards this program which would allow them to offer programs to over 10,000 local students.

So far, $100,000 has been secured, and the program needs the final $25,000 by April 22 (Earth Day) in order to meet the high demand of the busy spring field trip season. CBEEN is seeking program sponsorship from local businesses, as well as charitable donations from individuals.

Local business, Conservation by Design, has just pledged $1,000 towards this campaign, and has challenged others to do the same.

“We believe it is critical for children to grow up with experiences that allow them to learn about this region’s spectacular landscape and get outdoors to experience nature first hand,” said Deborah Griffith, CBEEN Director and Wild Voices for Kids program founder.

CBEEN would also like to recognize other funders that have already come on board including FortisBC, Columbia Basin Trust, BC Hydro, the Province of British Columbia, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, District of Invermere and the Columbia Valley Community Foundation.

If you would like to make a donation or sponsor the Wild Voices for Kids Program, please go to www.cbeen.org or contact Duncan Whittick at 250-341-6141 or email info@cbeen.org.

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