Spring showers have you down? Muddy roads and unpredictible rain may leave the fair-weathered hiker at home. However Grasslands National Park is beautiful in the spring – with wildflowers, birds chirping and bison calving. Now you can live stream the bison in Grasslands National Park from the comfort of your own home!
Last week, the Prairie Learning Centre visited Central School in Swift Current, SK. The grade 3 students were excited to enjoy the beautiful spring weather!
The Prairie Learning Centre also had the chance to visit Central's incredible outdoor classroom. Central won $20,000.00 to build the outdoor classroom through the Majesta and Trees Canada Tree of Knowledge competition. The entire South West Saskatchewan community rallied together to support Central School's Application through the online voting process.
Its been a busy with at the PLC! Tim has is visiting over 30 Hutterite Colony Schools in South West Saskatchewan. Students have learned about the Red Wiggler Worm and how to make a composter! In this picture, students are building a parachute to learn about the science of flight! Students have used parachutes or balsa air planes to learn about flying.
The Prairie Learning Centre and Vanguard Youth Group are celebrating the last day of Winter with a Snowsnoeing advernture! The PLC was lucky enough this winter to grab a class set of snowshoes! The snowshoes are a Faber's hybrid design. The Vanguard students are demonstrating a human chain in this picture—Looks like fun! We can't wait to hike the new Eagle Butte Trail in Grasslands National Park next winter! Who's In?
We don’t often think of the night sky as being “endangered.” However with increased amounts of light pollution (extra light coming from buildings and streetlights), the night sky is not as dark as it used to be. Nocturnal animals like the elusive Black-footed Ferret, along with owls, bats and badgers all require true darkness to hunt and survive. Light coming in from cities and houses can be very disruptive for prairie wildlife.
In 2009 Grasslands National Park was designated as a dark sky preserve. this year, the PLC is excited to enhance its current outdoor programming and provide a chance for people to learn about the importance of darkness for our environment, wildlife and for humans! Many groups in Canada are working to protect the night sky including The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Parks Canada and Saskatchewan Parks.
Thanks to a generous donation from SaskEnergy, the PLC is able to enhance its environmental education programming to include the Grasslands National Park Dark Sky Preserve. We have purchased a 8” Dobsonian Telescope! With the assistance of an Outdoor Educator, students will be able to look at the rings of Saturn, the Moons of Jupiter or even glimpse at another galaxy!
Highlights for Dark Sky enthusiasts to watch for in 2014 include:
March 2014: Watch for Jupiter in the evening sky (bright, solid star to the South East)
May 28: Camelopardalids Meteor Shower
August 13: Perseid Meteor Shower
October 23: Partial Solar Eclipse – best place to observe in Canada is in Saskatchewan!
Too cold to go outside? This winter, invite the Prairie Learning Centre to your classroom! We are gearing up for a First of its Kind Outreach program for Hutterite Colony Schools in Chinook School Division. In the Science of Soil: Waste and our World – students will get a chance to learn how decomposition works and build a vermicomposter with Red Wiggler Worms to keep for their classroom. In the Science of Flight: Our Feathered Friends, students will carry out an experiment with paper airplanes and balsa planes to learn the difference between flyers, gliders and floaters.
This program is FREE for Hutterite Colony Schools in Chinook School Division! Check back to our blog for updates on which colony the PLC is visiting and where we are off to next!
Biking is a great way to explore the Grasslands! With a new fleet of bicycles, the PLC is excited to offer a new way for students to enjoy the outdoors. Ten bicycles came from Vanguard School last year and this year the Prairie Learning Centre purchased 6 brand new awesome Rocky Mountain Bikes.
Grasslands National Park is a huge park and most visitors experience the park by walking. Peddling along Ecotour Road to the tune of a Meadow Lark and the pink prairie sunset on the horizon is a refreshing experience. We hope that this 2014 season we can bring students to the GNP who want to experience the park by bicycle and teachers who wish to explore the alternative activities part of the Physical Education Curriculum.
Teachers getting ready for their end of year field trips in Grasslands National Park are invited to talk with Tim at the PLC about using the bikes for their class. We are pleased to offer a variety of bikes for every shape and size of student. Safety is always a priority and the PLC is stocked up with helmets for students to borrow for the ride and the Prairie Learning Centre Manager is a trained CAN-Bike Safety Instructor with years of cycling experience.
The Prairie Learning Centre would like to acknowledge the support of Cloud9 Cyclery in Swift Current and the Community Initiatives Fund for making this experience possible.
This is a new offering by the Prairie Learning Centre that is kindly sponsored by Chinook School Division, Grasslands National Park and Sask Power.
Students work through many of the outcomes for the Grade Three Science Curriculum area for Soils. The Prairie Learning Centre will come into the class and teach these outcomes in a fun, interactive and engaging way. Students will use a learning journal throughout their experience to record facts and information about soils. Within the workshop, students will build a classroom vermicomposter and learn how to manage and operate the composter as well as learn about earthworms, their new red wiggler "class pets". This composter will be left in the classroom for students to operate until June, when the worm castings will be harvested. In June, the PLC will again visit the classroom to harvest the castings, plants will be planted in the soil, and the learning experience completed. Teachers can book a full 2 ½ hour learning experience for the students or an abbreviated 1 hour visit (only vermicomposting is covered).
The workshop will be held within the classroom or an area with work tables and access to a Smart Board or Digital Projector. Please contact the PLC to book your workshop. www.prairielearningcentre.ca