Lesser Slave Forest Education Society Field experiences with Indigenous Elders, forestry professionals, and educators to expand student knowledge of sustainable forest management
Why this Project Matters
This project will deliver high-quality, hands-on forestry education field experiences to over 2,000 students, parents and teachers in the Lesser Slave Lake region in Northern Alberta. Students will also learn about forestry career options, which have the potential to encourage youth to remain in their communities. Programs include curriculum-based tours, hikes and camps. Educators, professionals and Indigenous Elders will provide teachings that expand participants’ knowledge of sustainable forest management in the boreal forest.
The project will foster environmental literacy by demonstrating how forest companies sustainably manage the forest landscape. It will encourage students to examine multiple perspectives including local Indigenous knowledge. This project will demonstrate how to bring together traditional ecological knowledge and forestry skills to ensure that all values are included in sustainable forest management.
How the Project Promotes Environmental Education and Respect for Traditional Knowledge
This project provides students with hands-on learning opportunities in the forest. During National Forest Week tours, educators will work with students to take measurements in the forest, using diameter tapes, clinometers, measuring tapes, tree identification guides, volume tables and increment borers to calculate the age and volume of wood in specifically marked trees. These activities provide real world uses for math and help develop numeracy and scientific literacy. Teachings from Indigenous Elders will also provide students with invaluable information about traditional land use and help them to better understand how Indigenous knowledge and values can be respected within sustainable forest management.
SFI Community Grants are supporting this project. The educational tours and teachings will be free for students to ensure equal access for all. SFI-certified forest management companies and forestry professionals will teach students about sustainable forest management and link these lessons to forestry careers.
How this Project Builds SFI Community Engagement
This project will use forest-based education to engage with and teach future forest leaders from local communities.. In 2018, the Lesser Slave Forest Education Society began to develop relationships with local Indigenous groups, specifically with Swan River First Nations and Sawridge First Nations. The education society’s goal is to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and teachings into its National Forest Week tours, ecology hikes and summer day camp programming in 2020. The High Prairie school division has offered to support these efforts by sharing their extensive contacts with all local First Nations. They have also offered to provide honorariums to Elders for any educational programming that High Prairie School Division students take part in to ensure that Indigenous perspectives, values and traditional knowledge are taught alongside other important educational concepts.
This partnership includes conservationists, educators, Indigenous Elders, and SFI certified organizations.
- Project lead: Lesser Slave Forest Education Society
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- West Fraser (SFI-certified organization)
- Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory
- Vanderwell Contractors (1971) Ltd. (SFI-certified organization)
- Tolko Industries (SFI-certified organization)
- Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
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