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News: Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

Rewilding Clearbrook Elementary, one tree at a time

With more and more teachers moving their classrooms outdoors this fall, students with access to green spaces are benefiting from both a safer learning environment and an enhanced learning experience. 

Kindergarteners at École Clearbrook Elementary begin each Monday with an outdoor circle and end the week with Forest Fridays. This youngest cohort at the school leads the charge with their endless curiosity and boundless sense of adventure. Their teacher, Sara Bucovaz, has only praise for the merits of educating outdoors, and she is going above and beyond to improve the outdoor learning environment so that all of the students can learn more about their sense of place in the world.

Alongside other committed teachers and staff at Clearbrook, Bucovaz organized a School Greening Committee in November of 2019. “Our objective is to bring more native plants to our school to help facilitate learning about the local natural environment and life sciences as well as help students and teachers develop a connection to our local natural environment,” shared Bucovaz.

As part of an ambitious school greening plan that will involve the entire school, 24 native trees and a variety of over 100 shrubs and herbaceous plants will be transplanted onto the school grounds this coming month. Through planting more native species on school grounds, the school Green Team hopes to help support local pollinators and wildlife. The ‘Rewilding the School’ project aims to enrich the natural space for students to explore and to also facilitate the teaching of indigenous ways of knowing and learning. The native plants will be used by all grade levels to teach many aspects of the curriculum through hands-on learning experiences.

“Our initial planting day was cancelled last spring due to COVID-19,” said Bucovaz. Last week, the school held a small private event as well as a planting week where all classes were able to contribute. “By involving staff, students, and parents in various parts of the project such as the planning, implementation, and maintenance, we hope to promote environmental awareness and citizenship in our entire school community.”

Clearbrook’s Greening Committee has received two grants to support this initiative; $3500 from Tree Canada and $1684 from Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. Additional community support has come forward in the form of donations, consultation and volunteer efforts. The school wishes to thank the following for their contributions: Net Zero Waste, City of Abbotsford, Stave Valley Salmonid Society, and the Fraser Valley Conservancy. 

“There is so much we can all learn from nature,” says Bucovaz, “and what better time to get outdoors!”

Media Contact:

Kayla Stuckart, Manager of Communications
Phone: (604) 859 – 4891 ext. 1206