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Kids 'n Nature

Presqu'ile's New Marsh Boardwalk

Facilitates School Group Tradition

The Friends of Presqu'ile have made good with their promise to all donors to the Marsh Boardwalk Project in Presqu'ile Park. They said the boardwalk would be a major amenity for educational purposes, as well as recreational, and an initiative has been developed by the Friends to implement the new Kids 'n Nature Program. In conjunction with the International Year of Biodiversity, as well as the new science and technology curriculum in the elementary schools, new grade specific curriculum based programming is underway.

The revised science and technology curriculum removes the focus from knowledge based learning, and places a large emphasis on experiencing the relationship between science and technology. The Kids 'n Nature program is specifically targeting grades 3, 4, 6, and 7, however education opportunities for the entire elementary panel are still available. The program works by delivering an in-class session to students to assess their knowledge of the program and introduce the elements of biodiversity. This lesson is followed up by a trip to the Park's Marsh Boardwalk, where they will experience the three new teaching areas (including Audrey's Place) and the two new lookout towers. Each program is tailored to the specific expectations of grade related Ontario Curriculum.

Kids 'n Nature program has been put together by the Friends Education Committee and started at the beginning of May. Cortney Lee-Comeau was hired on by the Friends to develop and implement the curriculum based school programs on the Marsh Boardwalk. She has completed two university degrees, a B.Sc honors in Biology from Trent University in Peterborough as well as a B.Ed from Queen's University in Kingston. She is a qualified teacher from grades 7-12 in Biology and Geography. Cortney is also a well seasoned naturalist working to implement a nature program at a summer camp in Peterborough for three years. She also has experience as an interpreter in Ontario Parks developing and implementing summer programming and working in the Park Visitor Centre. She is very passionate about the Kids 'n Nature program and looks forward to working in partnership with the Friends, Park and community to develop fun and educational programs for school groups surrounding biodiversity, park themes, and Ontario Curriculum.

The Friends have already started the school outreach elements, with May and June being almost completely booked. The first group, Grade Six from Brighton Public School, visited the Park on Wednesday, May 12.

Craig Kerr, the Chair of the Friends of Presqu'ile, said: ?This is exactly what the mandate of the Friends is about and a fabulous result of what can happen when volunteers, The Park and the town work together. The Friends are going from strength to strength and there are a number of other major initiatives we want to be involved in.'

The visitor numbers for Presqu'ile Provincial Park were up by 7% last year and its new Marsh Boardwalk will certainly help increase the numbers further. The Presqu'ile Marsh is the largest, least disturbed coastal marsh on Lake Ontario to the west of Prince Edward County. The boardwalk allows visitors to enter a bio diverse landscape that would otherwise be inaccessible. It also allows for a variety of educational opportunities for the community and the Park. Interpreters can lead guided hikes through the marsh, school groups can solve mission based problems regarding the Presqu'ile Marsh, and visitors can walk quietly and observe a plethora of birds, fish, amphibians, and invertebrates on any given day.

If you are interested in booking a school group, or would like more information, please feel free to contact Cortney through David Bree (NHE Leader, Presqu'ile Provincial Park) at 613 475 4324 ext. 225 or david.bree@ontario.ca. The Friends look forward to the continued support from all our partners who have made this possible.