VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 13, 2014) - Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and its corporate partner, Talisman Energy Inc. (Talisman), are excited to recognize Saint Andrew's Regional High School in Victoria, British Columbia as a Canadian Wetland Centre of Excellence. Wetland Centres of Excellence (WCE) are schools that commit to the long-term care of local wetlands where students plan and undertake a variety of conservation and education-related activities.
In 2011, Talisman committed a multi-year pledge to support the creation of two new Wetland Centres of Excellence. St. Andrew's joins École secondaire du Mont-Sainte-Anne in Beaupré, Quebec as the second Centre established through this generous support. These schools are part of a national network of 18 school-based Wetland Centres of Excellence across Canada.
Each WCE is based on the unique nature of the local wetlands and the interests of the students. Their activities range widely and may include wetland restoration, habitat improvement, research, and wetland education in their local community. Initially, Saint Andrew's students will be working with the staff at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary to undertake conservation activities at one of the wetlands located nearby.
"We are very excited about getting our students involved in this kind of activity right in their own community." says Annie Ingraham, a lead teacher at St. Andrew's. "The grade 10 science students have been studying wetland wildlife and are constructing nest boxes for bats and songbirds, while the Grade 11 biology students are beginning to remove invasive plants along a corridor leading to Swan Lake. We look forward to making an even larger positive impact as we gain more experience with the wetlands and our partners."
One of the features of the centres is the role the students play in delivering wetland field trips to younger students. DUC and staff from the Nature Sanctuary work with the teachers and student to prepare them for this task.
"These Centres are great examples of the kinds of engaging and practical hands-on learning that brings education to life and that can create a real commitment from young people to be involved in their communities and in conservation activities," explains Merebeth Switzer, national manager of education for DUC. "We have seen a number of both secondary students and the students they've inspired go on to study wildlife management, ornithology, water management and education."
Talisman's partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada dates back to 1999 starting with the funding of two DUC Project Webfoot classes in Chetwynd, B.C. In 2011, Talisman became the Founding National Education Sponsor for the Project Webfoot program, which provides educational resources and field trips to elementary classes across Canada. To date over 600 classes representing 15,000 students have participated in this program.
"Talisman recognizes the value of educating youth about the environment, instilling conservation ethics and encouraging community engagement," says Kim Brenneis, manager external relations, Talisman. "Programs, such as the Wetland Centres of Excellence and Project Webfoot demonstrate the valuable role industry, in collaboration with other stakeholders, can play in environmental protection, conservation and education."