Bow Valley High School Winter Watersheds and Glacier Discovery Report

Bow Valley High School – “Winter Watersheds and Glacier Discovery”

Pillar Achieved:

 This project easily could have fallen into three categories. However, I do believe that the strongest connection that we chose to connect to was the environmental category. It is critical for students to experience a landscape before they can desire to protect or demonstrate environmental stewardship for that place. This rationale combined with the extensive placed based learning, expedition component of this learning initiative dictated the pillar selection.

 Indicators of Success:

 There were several indicators of program success. First was the number of students engaged in the activity. During the first component of the experience: The Elk Pass Watershed Quinzhee trip 25 students participated in a two-night trip. For the second portion of the Glacier discovery 14 students participated in a three day-expedition on the Saskatchewan Glacier. Bow Valley High School was the only school in the nation to participate on a trip of this nature.

A second indicator of success was the level of student engagement and conversation that came as a result of our trip. For both trips students were immersed in the culture and context of watershed management and glacier discovery. Our interpretive guides provided students with extensive information and insight into the issues surrounding watersheds and glaciers. These guides noted the accomplished skill of the students, their level of preparation and engagement in the experience. A corollary of this indictor was the student buzz around this trip upon their return. Students passionately spoke about what they learned and the incredibly unique environments they experienced.

 The buzz generated by this learning initiative has extended well beyond the walls of Bow Valley High. The town, parents of students, outside environmental organizations (ACEE) and many more have engaged us in conversation on this issue and the project execution. Further, it has bolstered out outdoor leadership program and created additional interest in the program and similar expedition experiences.

Challenges Faced:

There were three primary challenges faced during the implementation and execution of this learning initiative. The first challenge was the ability and availability for students to participate in 5 days of field trip expeditions. This required significant student discipline and ability to navigate school work, family expectations and work demands. These demands and time management skills taxed student participants and was a significant challenge.

The Second challenge was the overall expense of this initiative . In total the expedition component of this initiative was approximately $5,000. This included sub costs, guide fees, hut rentals, avalanche beacon rentals, transportation and more. The Bow Valley High School – Outdoor Leadership program invested heavily to ensure this learning opportunity to came to fruition.

The third challenge that was faced during the Saskatchewan Glacier component of this trip was student health. One of our participants suffered through some medical illness while we were on the glacier. This required us to modify our program and assign one guide to remain in base camp with the ill student.

 Funding Usage:

 The funds that your organization generously donated were used to pay for one night accommodation at the Rampart Creek hostel in HWY 93 North. This location allowed us to stay within 20 minutes of our launch point for the three-day Saskatchewan Glacier expedition. Your funding endowment was used entirely used to cover this expenditure.

Photo Evidence of the Experience :

Please find the attached link that includes a couple of photos and the accompanying article that was in our local paper – The Cochrane Eagle. I have countess additional photos that can be made available.

Thank you for your commitment to student learning and engagement. If you require additional information please let me know.

Scott Thompson

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