Students at Calvin Christian School (CCS) in Hamilton, Ont., were awarded the Hamilton Conservation Authority's 2017 Education Award for their project on invasive species. Several CCS students and teachers accepted the honor at a December awards ceremony at the authority’s main center.
The project began with a field trip to the local conservation area two years ago where the class met an aquatic ecologist who specialized in invasive fish—non-native species taking up residence in an established ecosystem.
“Students were taken on a hike and were able to get waist deep in their learning by exploring what actually lives in our waterways,” explained Amanda Breimer, the grade 6 teacher who planned and coordinated this project-based learning unit. To answer the project’s driving question—How can we inform others about invasive species?—the class decided to create child-friendly, detailed task cards that could be posted or handed out at the conservation area.
Students worked in pairs to create drawings of various invasive species that included key classifying information and what to do when these species are identified. The class enjoyed learning about all the different creatures threatening local habitats. During the process of creating these invasive species task cards, they also received a grant through Toronto Dominion Bank’s Friends of the Environment Foundation worth $7,500 CDN to make their task cards into a durable sign.
“I hope it spreads awareness and that people will know what to do if they come across an invasive species,” said Carly Sluys, one of the student recipients of this award and member at Ancaster Christian Reformed Church.
“I am so proud of all the hard work that the grade 6 students put towards this project,” said Breimer. “What a great way to end off this project by seeing our sign installed and the students receiving this recognition.”