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Smile for Youth Education

Connecting Youth with Nature

On Galiano Island, we have the opportunity to demonstrate that nature is just outside your doorstep. In our first year of education programs, we brought this experience to a group of youth from Vancouver that had never been to the ocean. The shocking revelation for us was that many groups have a similar lack of experience with the ocean and nature.

Kids with sunflower starThis has driven us to reach over 30, 000 people through our environmental education programs since 2000, many of whom are at-risk youth from the urban centres of Vancouver and Victoria.

A field trip to Galiano Island begins with a one hour ferry ride that allows students to disconnect from their everyday urban lifestyle and reconnect in a rural setting. Galiano, a unique human-scale outdoor classroom, is well known for its scenic beauty, ecological health and its peaceful sounds of nature. Our studies from ocean to forest to wetland can be traversed in one day. For nearby urban youth, especially those from the densely populated inner city areas, discovering Galiano’s natural features is thrilling, enlightening, inspiring and often, a rare experience.

The Need

Kids with sticksBursaries of up to $600 per group are offered to underprivileged youth that would not otherwise be able to participate in our programs. In light of rising ferry and fuel costs and decreasing school funding, the number of groups requesting bursaries has risen. Over the past decade, we have provided bursaries for 1900 participants.

“We find the bursary crucial to making it accessible to my students because most of them come from low–middle income families and would not be able to afford the program otherwise. As well, most families don’t have the opportunity to take their children to the beach to explore the sea shore or other natural places in the area. The bursary makes it possible for students to open their eyes to the natural world that they did not know existed before. I find this to be crucial in their understanding of their own place in this world.” – Genny Lau, teacher

Thrifty Food LooGiving is easy through the Thrifty Foods Smile Card Program, which helps you give without even trying! By using a Galiano Conservancy SmileCard when you buy Thrifty Foods Smile Card Program Galiano Conservancygroceries at Thrifty Foods, 5% of your shopping bill is donated directly to our education bursary fund by Thrifty Foods. All you have to do is contact us today to get your card, and get shopping.

Galiano Island is ideally situated; our organization has the experience, the expertise, a record of success and the long term vision for healing people, nature and communities. To help achieve our goals, we are asking you for a seed of financial support that will be planted directly into our bursary fund.

“Planting a seed of hope so that life is meaningful.”
Florence James, Penelakut Elder