Forest Ed. Society active despite COVID

Leader staff

It’s good to know some programs are rolling along, providing good service to the community despite a pandemic. In the the case of the Lesser Slave Forest Education Society (FES), the work of educating kids about the forests that surround us was quite active this fall.

For example: Over 600 students from area schools took part in FES programs in September and October of 2020. They were from seven schools in five different communities.

What did they do? One thing they did was go on field trips, where they got to use a new set of digital, hand-held microscopes, purchased with the help of the Rotary Club of Slave Lake.

“Everyone was amazed to see the tiny insects in such great detail,” says the FES fall update by executive director Cori Klassen.

Another activity featured in Klassen’s report was called a “trees and forests field trip.” This took students out to forested areas and taught them how to identify trees and shrubs, as well as animals and forest ecology.

A ‘Forest Kit’ provided to Grade 6 teachers.

Yet another had elder Joyce Hunt instructing groups of students in traditional uses of trees and plants from the boreal forest.

Thanks to COVID, some of the programs were not delivered in person. For example, the FES developed a set of ‘forest kits’ which were then sent to Grade 6 teachers at schools in seven communities. Another educational item created by the FES is called ‘Leaf Bingo,’ which was provided to Kindergarten teachers. Through it, students learn to identify trees by their leaves.

Communities served by FES programs this fall were Slave Lake, Atikameg, High Prairie, Kinuso and Joussard.

The educational work continues. This month, FES will deliver ‘virtual’ forestry career presentations to local schools. Winter programs for area students will be offered – both online and outdoors, in collaboration with the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory.

Those organizations will also team up to create something called a ‘new forest mystery.’ Stay tuned for details, says Klassen’s report.

Field trip students investigate a rotten log.
Photos courtesy Lesser Slave Forest Education Society

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