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Dr. Richard Westwood discusses with some of the teachers insects secured by 'night lighting'

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Teaching Teachers to Teach Environment

The 1999 ForestEd Teachers' Workshop of the Manitoba Forestry Association was held from June 10 to 13 at the Atikameg Scout Camp near The Pas. The eighteen participants, including three teachers from within the Manitoba Model Forest, came from many areas of the province including Flin Flon, Gimli, Grand Rapids, Lac du Bonnet, Manitou, Peguis, Pelican Narrows (Sask.), Powerview, Swan River, The Pas, Wanipigow and Winnipeg.

The emphasis of this annual workshop was "hands on" learning through the practical application of programs such as Project Learning Tree. Twenty presenters provided a wealth of information during the two and one-half day workshop. During registration a field bag, plant identification book, hand lens, and a comprehensive package of information is provided for each participant.

Thursday evening, information was provided on the courses available at Keewatin Community College and there were a number of Project Learning Tree activities facilitated by Bill Baker of the MFA which provided an opportunity for participants to get to know each other, and to do some work outdoors.

The next morning the group boarded a bus and travelled a short distance to Atikameg Forest Centre. Here, Dr. Richard Westwood, Biology Department, University of Winnipeg and Glenn Peterson, Fire Management, Manitoba Natural Resources lead a walk along the nature trail, stopping at strategic places to point out interesting features of the boreal forest. Several of the other presenters, including George Lammers, Ph.D., Dan Bulloch, Forestry Branch, Manitoba Natural Resources, and Dr. Kent Simmons, Biology Department, University of Winnipeg spoke about rocks, birds and flowers respectively.

The group returned to the ski chalet at the Centre for a viewing of the interior displays and a short introduction by Karen Scheffers, Centre Co-ordinator. In the afternoon, participants travelled to the area of the Caves where they were divided into three groups for the Forest Strata session on soil types, the interrelationships of lichens and their role in forest succession, and plant identification using sample plots.

Following a barbecue dinner at the Scout Camp, Bob Mann of Manitoba Hydro presented information on Hydro's Forest Enhancement Program, and encouraged teachers to consider projects that would be applicable for funding. John Martin, an Elder at Keewatin Community College moved his presentation outdoors and spoke about his role in helping aboriginal youth as they pursued careers at the College.

Saturday night and Sunday morning brought heavy rain to the area, so the program was changed somewhat to accommodate the weather conditions. Dave Buck began the morning program by speaking about non-traditional forest products, and showed numerous examples. His one hour presentation stretched into two hours as participants continued to ask questions.

Unfortunately the planned trip to the Caves had to be cancelled because of the rain and the danger of walking on slippery rocks. However, George Lammers gave an interesting account of the formation of the Caves, which he said were actually Joints. After lunch, representatives from the Tolko pulp mill gave a presentation, and handed out a folder of information.

Early in the afternoon the group boarded the bus to travel to the Tolko mill. By the time the tour ended, so had most of the rain, so the group was able to undertake the woodland portion of the trip, stopping at several locations and heard presentations on sample plots and soil profiles, forest regeneration, and activities that could be undertaken back in the classroom

Tired, wet, cold and happy the group arrived back at the Scout Camp for dinner and an entertaining presentation by Dan Bulloch of Manitoba Natural Resources on identifying frogs from their calls. Information was provided on Manitoba Envirothon by Jim Potton, Chair of the Steering Committee and Mike James, Coordinator.

Sunday morning was devoted to a presentation by Rick Wowchuk, a teacher from Swan Valley Regional Secondary School, on the exciting and innovative Resource Management program he offers his students. In addition, all those present were encouraged to share information and resources.

Dianne Beaven, Executive Director of the Manitoba Forestry Association has indicated a decision on ForestEd. 2000 will be made later this fall.

Excerpts from the participants' evaluation forms:

" Resource sharing happened throughout the workshop. Excellent presenters. Very knowledgeable as well as friendly and informative! I'm eager to plan next year's activities. The reference to Project Learning Tree activities was great. Having time to discuss what is happening in other schools is always very valuable."

"Please include as much hands-on as possible. Wonderful job! I'll be back. Thank you!"

"Please send me an invitation for the next. Excellent source of information on the current issues and areas of biological science."