Outdoor Education for Teachers

In July 2015, nine teachers from across Manitoba attended a three-day camp in Nopiming Provincial Park to learn how to better incorporate wildlife management, forest ecology, and other such concepts into their lesson plans for students.

 The Summer Institute for Teachers is run by Manitoba Model Forest. This year, the program received a $3,500 grant from our HAPF, which helped pay for things like groceries, fuel, camp supplies, and instructor wages. We at MLOA are happy to support this program.

“The idea is to introduce the teachers to all the different concepts of natural resource management,” said Brian Kotak, general manager at Manitoba Model Forest. “The media provides such an unbalanced view of natural resource management, especially when it comes to forestry and hunting. This program helps the teachers get a different view so that their students can understand natural resource management is a very complex issue.”

Manitoba Model Forest has created provincially accredited curriculum supplements about topics like moose and caribou management and forestry, which the teachers are encouraged to incorporate into their lesson plans. Kotak said most teachers from past years’ camps have done so. “A lot of the science and geography curricula are very broad. So this gives the students some Manitoba examples to learn from. For example, without these materials the curriculum wouldn’t cover hunting as a management tool at all,” Kotak said. “We teach them that you can’t just look at one species in isolation. Natural resource management is a very complex issue.”

This year’s group featured nine teachers from seven Manitoba school divisions, including Prairie Rose, Mystery Lake, Sunrise, Seven Oaks, Winnipeg, Seine River and Red River Valley. The teachers gathered July 2 to 4 at Shoe Lake, where the province had provided cabins free of charge. The participants, both men and women ranging from kindergarten to high school teachers, spent time learning the curriculum supplements, but also went on guided hikes, fished, and visited a caribou calving area on Black Lake, where they got to view trail camera photos of the animals who’d visited the site.

Manitoba Model Forest plans to run the event again in 2016.

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