Teachers develop environmental stewardship course

NANAIMO – Environmental course developed by Dover Bay Secondary School teachers could get the green light.

An environmental course developed by Dover Bay Secondary School teachers could get the green light at the end of the month.

Trustees at last week’s education committee meeting recommended the board give final approval for the locally-developed course.

Environmental Stewardship, a Grade 11 course, was developed by three Dover Bay teachers – Gordon Graham, teacher sponsor of the school’s environmental club, John Eby and Janet Nelson.

On top of introducing students to the principles, concepts and methodologies required for understanding the complex inter-relationships of the natural world, the course aims to get students to think critically about contemporary issues related to environmental problems, on both a local and global scale and get them thinking about solutions.

Graham has been thinking about developing an environmental stewardship course for some time, and teachers hope to get enough interest to run at least one class next fall.

“It is, in my view, one of the most important issues kids are going to deal with in the 21st century,” he said. “It is sort of everywhere. The idea that we can’t keep going on like we have in the past, that message has to get out.

“There’s lots of opportunities where kids can get out in the community and get involved.”

The course, which can be offered at any high school in the district once approved, introduces students to environmental sustainability and stewardship, examines the impact of environmental change on the planet’s natural systems and the relationship between the human world and natural world, and allows students to choose their own topics for deeper study in the contemporary environmental issues unit.

Students also explore solutions and actions – both existing solutions and ones they create themselves.

“The whole idea is for them to consider environmentally responsible practices,” said Graham.

Students will learn to calculate their carbon footprint and a large part of the course is completing learning journals and working with peers on presentations and group projects.

“A lot of [course material] is going to be dealt with around the students and their presentations,” said Graham.

Jamie Brennan, school board chairman, said the project is in keeping with the province’s focus on personalized learning and there was unanimous support for the course.

“It’s really sort of natural because of the work teachers and students have done at that school through the environmental club,” he said.