Students at Sacred Heart High School are learning to be stewards of the Earth thanks to support from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) as part of the GENESIS program – a high-school course that gives students hands-on experience in environmental studies. They learn about everything from wildlife spotting and portaging, to understanding the importance of conservation and how to run environmental lessons for younger students.
“Students [in the program] come to an understanding of the importance and diversity of the natural world. In turn, this understanding and appreciation cultivates, within students, an authentic connection to the natural world – a connection that fosters a sense of stewardship for the natural world,” said Bob Legace, a teacher in the GENESIS program at Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton. “The NWMO’s regional Early Investments in Education and Skills program has made one of the mandates of the GENESIS program – to foster stewards of the Earth – attainable.”
Students recently spent time at MacGregor Point Provincial Park learning from experts about different species of birds, winter survival, geology, animals, and plants. The students then run lessons for elementary school classes from around the region to teach them about the importance of conservation and the natural environment. The program also takes them on various field trips throughout the year to Franklin Island, the Bruce Trail, and a 350-kilometre cycling trip in Quebec on the Route Verte.
“The experience these students are receiving through the GENESIS program at Sacred Heart High School is incredible. Mr. Legace has developed a fantastic program that is creating future leaders who are stewards of the Earth,” says Becky Smith, Regional Communications Manager for the NWMO. “I was so impressed with the students. They were well-spoken, confident and very knowledgeable on the subject matter. This is an incredible program, and one that we are happy to support!”
Funds through the NWMO’s regional Early Investments in Education and Skills (EIES) program went to purchase binoculars for the GENESIS program. The EIES program is a collaborative program that supports education and skills training for regional residents, including youth, as well as contributing to the well-being and capacity of the community.