More than 20 years later, Carolyn Ang still remembers working to create Tsolum Spirit Park when she was a Grade 5 student at (the former) Tsolum Elementary School.
Now a parent with a child at École Puntledge Park Elementary, she organized a field trip for Grade 1 students to learn about the history of the park, the return of salmon to the Tsolum River and the importance of volunteering in their community.
“I really believe in getting involved in your community for things that are important, especially when it comes to conservation and wildlife,” says Ang. “So, I really like to instil those values into the kids and also, I believe getting a hands-on education outside is really, really important.”
WildBC environmental educator Luisa Richardson, the Tsolum River Restoration Society’s Laura O’Brien and Fisheries and Oceans’ Dave Davies used hands-on learning techniques in nature to teach the students. For example, Davies demonstrated how salmon use the river to spawn with cardboard cutouts of salmon at the river.
Ang says the kids enjoyed the field trip and she was surprised by the high number of parents who came out, too.
Tsolum Spirit Park features trails, a bridge and a picnic site. Tsolum elementary students joined the community to help build the park, and Ang still remembers painting the sign at its entrance off Tsolum River Road.
“The community got involved and the school got involved and that was a big thing,” recalls Ang, adding the idea of encouraging kids to volunteer was a driving force behind this field trip. “We really believe that if kids start young and start to love nature and learn about salmon then they’ll get involved more when they’re older.”