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Posted: December 16, 2021

Kimberley students explore the grasslands

Submitted by Wildsight

Across the Columbia Basin, 25 classes participated in a Wildsight Classroom with Outdoors experience this fall: a full day field trip where students study the great outdoors through hands-on learning.

In their field trip, students in Ms. McRae’s Grade 4 class at Kimberley’s McKim School explored the grassland ecosystem at Wycliffe Butte, where they learned about some of the endangered critters that rely on grasslands such as badgers and long-billed curlew, and how critical these grasslands are as winter range for all our large neighbours (elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer).

They also heard about some of the threats to our dwindling grasslands (one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet, and here in the Kootenays), and how important
they are for diversity around the Kootenays.

“Most importantly, we learned about how we can protect our local grasslands by staying on trails, practicing leave no trace principles, and learning more about the unique flora and fauna of these special ecosystems,” said educator Dave Quinn.

“We also learned about some of the cool adaptations of grasslands species, like badgers who are super-diggers to help them find their favourite ground squirrel meals, bunchgrass whose roots can delve up to 10 feet below the surface to find water, and ponderosa pine whose thick bark and lack of lower branches help it survive frequent grass fires that are key to grassland maintenance and survival!”

Wildsight’s Classroom with Outdoors is made possible thanks to the generous support of our funders, including: the Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation, Consecon Foundation, the Government of Canada, Keefer Ecological Services Ltd., Kootenay Co-op, the Osprey Community Foundation, Teck Trail, the Province of British Columbia, Copernicus Education Products; and all of our individual donors.

Photos submitted by Wildsight

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