Teacher Pro-D Camp Aug 14-16, 2020

Intertidal Exploration at Sum’nuw (Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park)

In mid August, three enthusiastic teachers joined us for a very personalized, COVID-friendly version of our annual Teacher Pro-D Camp.

Teacher Pro-D Camp is the ultimate overnight field-trip for K-12 teachers and teacher candidates

Teacher Pro-D Camp is hosted on beautiful Galiano Island, British-Columbia. The Camp features three days of outdoor professional development that focus on teaching skills in environmental interpretation and experiential learning to increase teachers’ confidence as outdoor educators. The Camp includes delicious local cuisine, camping accommodations at the Millard Learning Centre and opt-in edu-tourism activities like kayaking in the Trincomali Channel.

Teacher Pro-D Camp 2020 focused on topics in permaculture gardening, forest ecosystems, marine biology and climate change!

Day 1

We visited the Millard Learning Centre’s Food Forest, a 0.5 hectare Forest Garden permaculture site. Teachers got their hands dirty learning how to create cost-effective school gardens from the ground up using a “Lasagna Bed” sheet mulching technique. This method that has created prolific, food-producing gardens from schoolyard and community blacktops across the world. Teachers learned how to incorporate microbiology and environmental chemistry lessons by creating a “vermi” or worm-compost bin with their students for their classrooms. Back at home, students can dispose of their lunch food wastes and wait for the worms to break it down. The worm castings are black-gold and will help with nutrient-depleted schoolyard garden soils. After getting their hands dirty teachers were rewarded with delicious veggie burritos and double chocolate zucchini muffins, yum yum!

Day 2

We hiked through the peaks and valleys of the Vanilla Leaf and Pebble Beach Nature Reserves. Teachers explored the characteristics of a healthy mature forest through a “teaching train” – an activity where students become teachers that was shown to Conservancy educators by the renounced ethnobotanist Nancy Turner, PhD. At the end of the day, teachers were brought to a portion of the forest that had once been clear-cut and re-planted with a Douglas-fir monoculture. Together we explored different forest restoration and monitoring techniques (as depicted in the “Let It Rot” clip below) that the Conservancy has been doing for the past 10+ years.

Day 3

To finish off the weekend, we took the group to Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park. The Park, named Sum’nuw in Hulq’umi’num language meaning “sheltered place”, has been inhabited by local indigenous peoples for 3000+ years. Hidden amongst smaller islands and islets, and with the help of thousands of years of careful land management by indigenous peoples, the area is rich with a diverse marine life.

We set out in the morning to explore the rocky intertidal area and were lucky enough to spot some hard to find marine invertebrates such as Giant California Sea Cucumbers. In the early afternoon under the beating sun, we moseyed to the Park’s boat dock where we pulled out our underwater marine camera to watch a Giant Acorn Barnacle feeding with its feather-like feet.

A great end to a fantastic weekend! All the Participants were very excited to bring back activities and knowledge they learned at the GCA to their respective schools. We look forward to running another Teacher Pro-D camp in August 2021!

Thank you for an amazing experience both personally & professionally. I plan to come back!

Gr 10-12 Alternative Education Teacher, Teacher ProD Camp 2020

The hospitality of the instructors was amazing!

Grade 7 Teacher, Teacher ProD Camp 2020

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Emily earned a BSc. in Environmental Science from Royal Roads University. Emily has worked with a diversity of environmental entities in the clean technology industry, in social-environmental non-profits and in academic communities. As a scientist and artist she combines her technical knowledge and creative approach to teach about unique pacific-northwest ecosystems and to explore the complex relationships between people and the environment.