I have a friend who is a remarkable teacher in the Waldorf school system. She sent me an email recently soliciting my support for her current class project… a submission to the Canada’s Coolest School Trip contest. Needless to say, I had never heard of it, although it is an initiative totally consistent with encouraging young people from across the country to better know each other, their country and their history.
How does it work? With the support of Air Canada and Arm & Hammer, Parks Canada and others have invited grade eight classes across Canada to register in a contest to win a four-day, all-expenses-paid class trip to Parks Canada sites on the B.C. coast. The winners will visit the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, and Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse national historic sites near Victoria.
To qualify, students had to write three papers: one on Parks Canada, the second on a national park and the third on a place in Canada they would like to make into a national park. They also had to make a one-minute video about the park they wrote about. Registration closed on March 3rd and the videos are now posted on the My Parks Pass contest website. The public can help choose the winner. The ten entries with the most on-line votes by noon on March 24th will be judged. Supporters can vote once daily, and class chances improve when the website is shared with friends and relatives.
My Parks Pass is a joint initiative of Parks Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Historica Canada, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Nature Canada. The website encourages the public to obtain annual passes to access over 200 national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas across Canada. It includes a map of sites, and also an Activity Guide for teachers describing many national parks and historic sites by themes. The Activity Guide looks like fun, and would be useful to adults as well, particularly to anyone unfamiliar with what the Parks Canada system has to offer. Read it, and you will want to visit with your kids, or your grandkids.
In the meantime, take in the videos produced by the contest winners in 2012 and 2013, and those produced by the classes in the current contest. I found them informative, enticing, and a wonderful example of how modern technology (video and YouTube) has transformed school classrooms. Then, vote if you wish.