The Columbia Basin Trust announced they are renewing their commitment to environmental education programs in the region, with nearly $1.3 million over the next three years.
With patches of snow on the ground, it’s a day for jackets and hoods up to protect ears from the cold. It’s Wednesday, November 14, 2018, and a group of ninth graders is traipsing across an abandoned hay field outside Cranbrook with loppers and shovels in hand. The kids have taken tree cuttings, known as live stakes—of willow, cottonwood and more—and are planting some now and leaving some to plant next spring. The goal: to help restore the field into a functioning wetland.
This group is doing its final project after participating in Know Your Watershed, an environmental education program Columbia Basin Trust developed in partnership with Wildsight. Not only are the students learning what makes a healthy watershed—one of the program’s goals—but the tree-planting day also ties into what they’ve been studying in biology class.
This is the fifth year teacher Dawn Hildebrandt has taken advantage of the free program for her students—and she says the students are always overwhelmingly positive about the experience. “Over the years, when we get back together in the classroom, almost every kid has something to say, because they actually participated in everything. It’s not a watch and learn—it’s a do and learn.”
To increase opportunities like these, the Trust is renewing its commitment to environmental education programs in the region, with nearly $1.3 million over the next three years. It’s one of the ways the Trust is delivering on its Environment Strategic Plan goal to engage Basin residents in learning about the Basin’s diverse landscapes, waterways and ecosystems, and how to care for them.
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– Submitted by Columbia Basin Trust