What I discovered spending the day in an outside classroom
Growing up in a rural town, I would love to say we all got out to see nature on a regular basis. However, with the draw of technology and the lure of multimedia, not many of us go out as much as we should. And these days, finding a habitat untouched by humans can prove to be a very difficult task. In south-central Saskatchewan, there aren’t a lot of places where I can get out into a natural space.
Thankfully, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is active in my area. The organization owns a piece of land just north of Edenwold, where my outdoor education class and I had the pleasure of exploring the area with NCC scientist Sarah Ludlow.
My class and I were ecstatic to be outside, where we were able to recognize a lot of native and a few invasive plants that we had studied in class. We all felt serenaded by the peaceful habitat, with birds flying overhead and cows mooing in the distance.
Going out on the hike, I didn’t expect to feel as at peace and as eager as I did. It was a beautiful day and everything seemed to be bright and alive, despite the weather starting to shift into fall. We were eager to explore the land, as we began to have a deeper understanding for everything our teacher, Mr. Moore, had explained to us in class. We began to look closer at the life surrounding us that we normally overlook in our busy day-to-day lives. Instead of seeing blades of grass, we began to notice the differences between each species.
Once we began applying what we had learned in class to what we were seeing, everything around us appeared clearer and brighter than when we first arrived. The sun shone brighter, reflecting the auburn and golden colours of the leaves around us.
We felt less inclined to complain about having to keep an eye out for piles of dung, and instead found ourselves asking Sarah questions about what we were seeing. She explained to us the differences between gophers and ground squirrels, and we realized our beloved Saskatchewan Roughrider football team mascot, Gainer, is a ground squirrel and not a gopher (I can't look at him the same way).
We experienced and witnessed many different things while on our walk. One of the most breathtaking sights was the deer prancing through the fields. Sarah taught us about plants and seeds we didn’t recognize and we even got to sample some choke cherries.
The walk was very therapeutic and put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Starting the morning out in such beautiful scenery made me feel energized and ready for the day. We found ourselves continuing discussions that we had that morning. One of my teachers, who heard our discussion, was astonished at the passion and energy that radiated from us. He said it was the way teachers wanted their students to feel after their classes.
Thank you very much NCC for all you do in conserving this land and for letting us explore it. The experience enthralled us all, and energized us to help out as much as we can to help protect the land, so others may be able to enjoy it!