Staff and students at Edgewood Elementary School (EES) will soon be celebrating the end of another school year.
They also have another reason to celebrate.
One of the school’s teachers, Erika Momeyer, has been awarded Columbia Basin Environmental Educators Network’s (CBEEN) Environmental Education Award of Excellence.
“It’s pretty exciting, there are a lot of amazing things that happen in the Columbia Basin,” said Momeyer. “It’s quite an honour to be considered up among all those things happening in our little area.”
CBEEN does community celebrations every spring and fall in different regions of the Columbia Basin. This year, the spring celebration took place in Revelstoke, where Momeyer and four others received their award.
She was given the award because of her project, Walking Wednesdays. Each Wednesday, she takes her class on a nature walk in the forest that borders EES.
She said it’s quite an honour to be included.
“I see how important it is, and what an amazing way it is to engage students, but it’s pretty exciting when others are going to honour that and deem it suitable for an award.”
Momeyer said it’s nice have the school and the area recognized, and is happy the Walking Wednesday program is being recognized throughout the province. She knows of teachers who are now trying something similar in their classroom.
Along with Walking Wednesdays, Momeyer’s class is working on another outdoor project — animal surveillance.
She has two wildlife cameras set up at locations chosen by the students to record any movement or activity that occurs during the night. The cameras will be taken down some time this week, and data from the cameras will be reviewed.
The project is in the process of wrapping up, but will be used again in the new school year.
“It was a lot of fun, and really interesting to use them as part of our learning, and the kids still have lots of questions,” she said. “Usually we’re coming up with a question, and deciding where to put the cameras to answer that question.”
She said if anything, it’s ignited more questions from the students.
Momeyer and her class will be doing Walking Wednesday right up until the end of the school year. Like the wildlife cameras, she plans on continuing with the walks in the year ahead.
When going on the walks, Momeyer and her students never know what they’re going to discover.
On a recent walk, the found a plant they thought they had never noticed before. It turned out, to be a young version of a plant they have seen but only in the fall when it’s dead.
“We’ve been going to that forest for four years, and we’ve never noticed this little plant when it was popping out of the dirt,” she said. “It’s amazing how in an area right next to the school you can still see new things all the time.”