Across the Shuswap region this spring, hundreds of students will be enjoying nature-based field trips thanks to sales from the book Everything Shuswap by author Jim Cooperman.
The proceeds from sales of the book, which is a comprehensive guidebook of natural spaces and historic sites,provided a total of $24,500 for the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District’s Outdoor Learning Grants. Some of the places students will be visiting include Larch Hills, Enderby Cliffs, Kingfisher Interpretive Centre, and North Fork Wild.
The grants help in covering travel costs, equipment, and guidebooks as well as honorariums for naturalists and Secwepemc Knowledge Keepers. In addition to hiking in the outdoors, some classes are learning about agriculture and bee keeping, providing hands-on knowledge to some eager students.
On the afternoon of June 6, Everything Shuswap author Jim Cooperman joined with two South Broadview Elementary School teachers, their students and some of their parents for a hike on the flume trail in Roderick Haig-Brown Park. He provided the group with some insights about the history, including its Secwepemc place name, Ciyúy7elt, and its use as a camping and fishing area where medicinal plants were harvested.
“Everyone involved just had a great time, they really loved it,” Cooperman says. Only one of the parents had been there before, so for them and the teachers they were just blown away by the opportunities for the visits and abilities for classrooms to appreciate the area.”
Prior to the hike, the grade four and five students spent two hours learning to kayak with Rob Ellis, principal of North Shuswap Elementary School.
Teacher Earl Dodds says “it was a great trip with beautiful weather, some cool history and a great splash when the kids did their kayaking.”
After the hike another teacher, Janu Smith, commented “I loved the historical and resource components of this park and hope to return again next year with a class for a creative sensory writing project.”
One of the students, Quinlan Leggett-Grayston, noted, “ I enjoyed the rustic feeling here, it was great!”
Over 1,100 students in total will be experiencing the great outdoors this school year thanks to the grants. Since less than half of the total has been allocated, there will be many more students on trails in the fall as each school in the district can apply for up to $1,000 for these grants.
“The money is there for all the schools,” Cooperman says. “We divided it up so that all the schools could benefit from this.”
Cooperman’s book, Everything Shuswap, is available in outlets throughout the region, and proceeds go towards the Outdoor Learning Foundation.