The work of a Shuswap author is educating local school students about the region and its history.
In his 2017 book Everything Shuswap, author Jim Cooperman delves into several disciplines including geography and ecology as well as local history – of the land and its people. He said one of the goals of the book was that it would become a resource in local schools. That goal has since come to fruition.
Graham Gomme, local president with the North Okanagan-Shuswap Teachers Association, said Everything Shuswap has been an extremely valuable resource for secondary students in School District 83. He said chapters of the book are currently being taught in Grade 9 and 11 classes, and that it has been a “big hit” with students.
“Students love learning about the history, geography and biology of the area they live in,” commented Gomme. “The writing is easy to understand and the photos and illustrations are great conversation starters.
“As well, the respectful indigenous content informs the students of an important history and world view of the region that predates colonial history by thousands of years.”
School District 83 District Principal Jennifer Findlay (Early Learning/Literacy/Ed Tech Team/Communicating Student Learning) said Cooperman’s community partnership has been an integral part of the school district’s growing outdoor learning community.
“Proceeds from the sales of Everything Shuswap have been used to support many outdoor learning grants for local schools which, in turn, provide opportunities for students to develop a sense of place as they explore and experience the Shuswap,” said Findlay. “Jim’s passion for sharing his knowledge and expertise of the Shuswap region is greatly appreciated by educators and students alike.”
Cooperman said it’s extremely important for students to learn about where they live.
“One of the principles of bioregionalism is the more they know about where they live, the more they respect it and care for it, and want to live here and basically want to see success in their own region,” said Cooperman.
Intending the book to be used in schools, Cooperman said he created a teacher’s guide that he has made available to Shuswap schools, along with the rich collection of resource material gathered as he was researching the book.
Cooperman plans to release future volumes of Everything Shuswap, as there’s still much about the region and its stories to explore. Some of his future material can be found in Cooperman’s column Shuswap Passion, shared in the Salmon Arm Observer, the Shuswap Market News, and on his website, Shuswap Passion, which recently received an overhaul and is now mobile device friendly.
Regarding mobile devices, volume 1 of Everything Shuswap is now available in digital format, and can be ordered on at shuswappassion.ca.