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B.C. Wildlife Federation to build wetland at Mackenzie Secondary School

The wetland will function as an outdoor learning lab

The B.C. Wildlife Federation will be building an educational wetland at Mackenzie Secondary School.

The construction of the wetland will take place June 3 and 4.

Robin Annschild, Wetland Restoration Specialist will lead the construction of the wetland, with original project design by Tom Biebighauser, a wildlife biologist and wetland ecologist with four decades of experience in wetland and stream restoration. 

“The BCWF’s Wetlands Education Program is thrilled to be returning to Mackenzie with continued support from the District of Mackenzie, local schools and McLeod Lake Indian Band,” said Alyssa Purse, BCWF Wetlands Education Program Coordinator and Project Lead said. 

“These communities have a strong appreciation for wetlands, and the BCWF looks forward to supporting opportunities for wetland conservation and restoration in this region.”

Students at Mackenzie Secondary School will be involved in aspects of the wetland build to instil a sense of ownership and stewardship of the project.  

“We have found that students who receive hands-on participation in building a wetland at their school are more likely to care for it as it fosters a sense of ownership and stewardship over the wetland,” said Purse.

“Raising a generation of youth who have become land-stewards and care about the environment is key to conservation and sustainability far into the future.”

The wetland at Mackenzie Secondary School was proposed in 2019 by Mackenzie Secondary teacher Kyle Tapper to provide an outdoor learning lab.

The outdoor learning lab intends to give students opportunities to investigate animals, plants, soils, and water through hands-on, experiential learning right on their school grounds.

The newly constructed wetland will provide students with a safe area to explore and reinforce basic concepts in math and science while gaining an appreciation and understanding of the importance of ecosystems for wildlife and society.

In collaboration with McLeod Lake Indian Band, the BCWF will also provide wetland restoration training during their time in Mackenzie.

The team will host a three-day workshop from May 31 to June 2 to teach wetland restoration techniques to band members and District of Mackenzie staff.

The workshop will be held alongside a native planting event at Morfee Elementary School where the BCWF Wetlands Education Program built an educational wetland in 2019.