Nature Days, Covey Hill, QC (Photo by HSBC)

Nature Days, Covey Hill, QC (Photo by HSBC)

HSBC Bank Canada and NCC’s Nature Days: Montreal & Vancouver

Covey Hill Nature Days, QC (Photo by HSBC)

Covey Hill Nature Days, QC (Photo by HSBC)

Recently, staff from the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) spent a day with students from Vancouver and Montreal for a day of hands-on learning about nature, in nature. 

“Nature Days events are designed to help students make personal connections with nature. We hope they can carry these experiences with them, to share with their family and friends. If it forms a personal point of curiosity in nature, and by extension conservation, then perhaps these children will contribute to caring for these places and species,” says Erica Thompson, NCC director of conservation engagement.

In Quebec, students from Franklin Elementary School discovered Covey Hill's ecosystems and rare species. Located in the northernmost reaches of the Adirondack Mountains, Covey Hill is covered by peat bogs, pine forests and streams that provide an essential habitat for 10 of Quebec’s salamander species including the dusky salamander, which is found nowhere else in the province.

Franklin Elementary School Principal Gregg Edwards is very excited about this initiative. He believes that for students to have the opportunity to explore eco-systems with biologists is a great experience.

“For Franklin School students this hands-on,  real-life learning within the community is a great step for them to become aware, knowledgeable and sensitive to the characteristics of our immediate environment,” says Edwards.

In BC, students from downtown east Vancouver’s John Norquay Public School joined NCC staff and HSBC Bank Canada’s Sustainability Manager, Ruth Legg, on a journey to the Cheakamus Centre near Brackendale, where NCC holds a covenant. The students learned first-hand about the salmon nutrient cycle, witnessing the work of bears as the stream side trails and adjacent forests, which were littered with chum remnants.

"It is generally agreed that people care about what they know and understand,” says Conor Mcmullan, education director at Cheakamus Centre. “This is a guiding principle for the experiences that we facilitate at Cheakamus Centre’s Outdoor School. Creating connections between students and a specific living thing helps build this sense of awareness and emotional attachment that helps students to develop a foundation of empathy and understanding about and for the natural world.”

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"The Nature Conservancy of Canada and HSBC share a commitment to the environment and education, and we are delighted to support NCC’s Nature Days program," said Jacques Fleurant, chief financial officer, HSBC Bank Canada. "Together, we’re helping thousands of youth across Canada bring their classrooms outdoors, get their hands dirty, and learn about the important role they play in protecting species at risk."

After the event, some of the children shared their memories from the day:

“The salmon was huge and so slimy!”

“There were so many salmon on the shore — the bears feed on the salmon. I’m glad I didn’t see any bears!”

“I got to touch the salmon and the animals!”

“A week after our Nature Days event, the children were still bubbling with excitement, learning and curiosity — lots for the classroom teacher to build upon into the school year," says Margaret Jorgensen, principal, John Norquay Public School.

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