In an era where more children are disconnected from nature, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and partners are making a strong investment in environmental education and outdoor learning. Comments such as “I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all of the electrical outlets are” are coming from the mouths of our children. They are becoming increasingly plugged into a life indoors. Project Webfoot is a positive step in ‘curing’ the next generation of what American author Richard Louv calls the “nature-deficit disorder.”
Project Webfoot is an award winning program that directly aligns with the Alberta Grade 5 science curriculum. The aim of the program is to deliver safe, interactive and inspiring educational content both in class and at a local wetland, to allow students the chance to apply their learning and connect with nature. Research shows that this integrated approach provides a strong and compelling way for students to learn.
Project Webfoot learning objectives include, but are not limited to:
• Recognize a variety of wetland types and identify features that make them unique;
• Appreciate the diversity of plants and animals living in wetland ecosystems;
• Understand the role organisms play and special adaptations they have for living in a wetland;
• Value the importance of wetlands in our lives; and
• Identify actions that can be taken to preserve and enhance wetland ecosystems.
With this program, DUC hopes to empower today’s students as they are the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow. Despite the many benefits wetlands provide for wildlife, people and the environment, their loss continues at an alarming rate. We need future decision makers to be aware of these environmental challenges to drive the change needed for a healthier world. People who are passionate about the environment, care for the environment for years to come.
Who Will it Benefit?
The primary individuals who will benefit include the students, teachers, and their families and friends.
Project webfoot is designed around student engagement and wetland exploration. Together with the Field Law Community Fund this opportunity will be provided to rural Grade 5 students in the surrounding areas of Frank Lake. The grade 5 students are the direct participants in the program, however their excitement and passion will be shared with siblings, parents, extended family and friends.
According to an Alberta teacher who participated in Project Webfoot,
“Nothing can compare to the rubber-boots approach of wetland education programs. All senses are engaged from the moment they step off the bus. They take the message of wet¬land conservation home to parents, siblings, grandparents and friends. It is hard to number those reached by each wetland experience. It is a field trip that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
The education benefits continue after the student program is finished. In fact, Frank Lake interpretive wetland is publicly accessible all year round so at any time, the students can take their family and friends to explore the wetland together, bridging generations.
Project Webfoot’s direct link to the Alberta science curriculum is an important component and brings the textbook to life as this Alberta teacher shares,
“Visiting our local wildlife area provided my students with the real-life experiences necessary to make connections to learning objectives outlined in the curriculum,” she says. “When a child is allowed to sort real, live insects according to their characteristics, this is learning at its best. Several students commented that it was the best field trip ever.”
By supporting DUC Project Webfoot, you can spark kids’ interest by introducing them to the world waiting outside their door. Thank you for your consideration of this valuable program.