(Anzac, AB) – Imagine being able to learn how to live off the land? Bill Woodward School in Anzac, one of 20 schools in the Northland School Division (NSD), is piloting a locally developed land-based learning course.
The pilot, funded by Syncrude, ConocoPhillips, Nexen, and Inner Diesel Ltd., is being developed by the school with support from Elders, Traditional Teachings and Actua; a national charity engaging youth about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). To bring this course to life, students and staff moved outside the classroom walls to experience an authentic on the land learning adventure in late October. The three-day land-based learning camp saw participants living in trapper tents with stoves, learning survival skills and understanding how to connect the knowledge to the curriculum.
With the help of Traditional Teachings Owner Justin Bourque, students developed the safety knowledge of using an axe. Actua helped explain the simple machines (wedge and lever arm) involved in the axe, how your hands on the axe become the fulcrum and the placement of your hands affects the strength you swing with. From axe safety, students transitioned to learning about moose calling and tracking techniques with Justin. To cover the curriculum content, Actua developed a digital mapping and coordinate assignment about moose movements in different seasons.
Students also became fire building experts after learning the best materials to use. While learning the type of materials, Actua taught them the scientific names and what properties they have that make them good for starting a fire. And even before attending the camp, students completed the firearm and hunter safety courses.
After this adventure, students will be acquiring more knowledge about trapping, survival, river, and lakes while taking this course.
Trapping Unit: Students will learn how to operate a working trapline.
Survival Unit: Learn survival skills for spring and winter. They will learn about traditional medicines, where you would sleep and how to figure out directions.
River and Lakes: Students will be fishing and learning how to traditionally preserve them.
Bill Woodward School is planning to submit the locally developed land-based learning course to Alberta Education for the 2019-2020 school year.