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Youth find sense of place in nature through Evergreen’s Visiting Schools Program

Students from the Tropicana Community Centre explored the urban wild surrounding Evergreen Brick Works through a custom Visiting Schools program.

High school students walking through the quarry in winter at Evergreen Brick Works. Image: Arsen Kelesoglu
Image: Arsen Kelesoglu

Published on March 23, 2018

On February 16, 2018, a group of 15 youth between the ages of 14 and 18 from the Tropicana Community Centre joined Evergreen staff for a custom Visiting Schools program, thanks to support from Freedom Mobile.

This unique day of programming focused on transferrable skills, building and exploring the intersection between human, natural and built worlds. The program included an exploration of the local landscape with an emphasis on wild edibles, sustainable shelters and traditional nature-based skills.

Students pausing on the bridge to take in an animal's natural habitat. Image: Arsen Kelesoglu.

 Students pause to discuss the natural landscape.

Following an informative site tour and interpretive hike, participants had the opportunity to develop new skills and perspectives as they roasted local organic apples over a wood fire. After this activity, students broke out into groups to create innovative structures based on their newly developed understanding of the needs of living things. This program, through nature based education and measured risk taking, instilled the participants with a greater sense of self confidence, empathy, and sense of place both and nature and in their community.

Students work together to build shelters out of found materials in the urban wilderness. Image: Arsen Kelesoglu

 Students build communication and teamwork skills as they build shelters.

Spending all day out in nature was an eye-opener for all, as they learned about the many different ways that being in nature contributes to overall health and wellbeing. Nura Mazloom, one of Evergreen’s staff members who facilitated this visit, enjoyed working with the Tropicana Community Group immensely.

“When groups come to Evergreen Brick Works they often get to try new things, and will push their personal boundaries and increase their comfort with nature. As an educator, it is always wonderful to meet groups like this that embrace the process and want to explore the area and what we can learn from it.”

Like all of Evergreen’s children and youth programming, the Visiting Schools Program encourages participants to explore their own strengths, build new skills and experience a sense of belonging in the natural world. The aim of Evergreen’s Visiting School Program is to support the development of a future city builder’s tool kit: to inspire, increase resiliency and prepare students to effect change in their own communities.

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with this amazing group of students, thanks to the generous support of Freedom Mobile. If you are interested in bringing your students to Evergreen Brick Works, details can be found on the School Visits page.