We were so pleased to welcome Hon. Katrine Conroy and Roly Russell to visit the Outdoor Education Centre (OEC) and join a group of young students learning about ecology and forest management
The visit included a presentation about the OEC, a hike around the property, and a visit with grade 6-7 students and teacher, Jamie Stewart from Hutton Elementary School.
"A beautiful day to tour the West Boundary Community Forest with Katrine Conroy. Thanks to Dan and Ellie McMaster and other members of the Team for hosting us. Great to see teacher Jamie and students learning about our forests," said Russell.
The OEC is located on Wilgress Lake near Eholt summit between Grand Forks and Greenwood. This 60 acres of private land contains a diverse landscape of forests, wetlands, lakefront, and hiking trails—an ideal location for groups to learn about forestry, and aquatic ecosystems.
Our OEC serves as a landing spot for K-12 students and educators to meet with forest professionals and learn about forestry. It is a naturally regenerated, multi-aged forest with hiking trails to explore, a pond and lakefront for studying aquatic organisms, and an open-air learning shelter that functions as a gathering space where students can learn about sustainable forest management.
"Each fall, we host an annual professional development day for teachers and administrators from across the Boundary region to learn about outdoor education opportunities offered at the OEC for the upcoming year," explained Dan Macmaster, Forest Manager with the WBCF.
Since opening in spring 2019, over 50 classes from the communities of Rock Creek, Midway, Greenwood, and Grand Forks have visited the OEC. The OEC focuses on sustainable forest management, traditional Indigenous knowledge of the land, outdoor recreational activities, and the history of the Boundary area.
There is no cost to attend the OEC, and forest professionals with Vaagen Fibre Canada volunteer their time to work with students in a variety of activities, including plant identification, aquatic studies, hiking, discussions around a campfire, and nature challenges and games to teach a holistic approach to forest management.