In Winter Wonder time mittens are a must—and a magnifying glass, too

By Contributor
February 18th, 2013

It’s Winter Wonder time! Primary students all over the snowy Columbia Basin are learning about how plants and animals adapt to winter.

Kids take a magical journey to discover the natural world in winter through these walking field trips, which occur in and around their schoolyards and neighbourhoods. Exploring snow crystals and their formation, students become detectives, with magnifying glasses and crystal identification sheets.

They find animal tracks in the snow, and learn how different species deal with winter – either by hibernating, migrating, or just ‘staying and coping.’ They learn about the special adaptations it takes to be a chionophile or winter-loving animal; things like white winter coats or feet like snowshoes. The children learn about the kinds of plants and trees that are part of our native ecosystems, too – and how these plants survive the frozen season. Winter Wonder programs support our youngest students in developing a love for nature and for what makes our local ecosystems special.

“The students love the chance to get outside to learn,” said Monica Nissen, Wildsight’s Education program manager. “Their enthusiasm makes delivering these programs a pure delight. I think every kid walks away appreciating what it’s like being an animal in winter in our part of the world, and marvels at all those interesting and amazing adaptations.”

Winter Wonder is one of Wildsight’s most beloved education programs. Even though the field trip is fun, the kids are learning life sciences that meet BC Ministry of Education requirements for science education.

Nissen said parents can get involved, too, if they have time during the day of the field trip. “You can support your classroom teacher and be a volunteer during the field trip,” she said. “Or, you can ask you children what they learned.”

All in all, this is a great time of year to take a winter walk with your own children. “Look for tracks and other animal sign, watch and listen to birds, investigate snow crystals—enjoy winter with your kids.”

If you would like to support a Winter Wonder expedition in your community, please donate by calling Wildsight.

“There is a lot to learn about winter adaptations,” Nissen said. “Kids begin to understand how the seasons contribute to the living systems around us. We provide learning materials to classes for both before and after the field trips and they love learning science in the great outdoors.”

Wildsight gratefully acknowledges the support of the Columbia Basin Trust, as well as BC Gaming Commission, FortisBC, and Columbia Power Corporation in delivering the Winter Wonder programs throughout the Basin.

This story is a press release from Wildsight.

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