Blooming alongside Earth Day, a virtual program is digging into the ecological change in the Okanagan.
The Greater Vernon Museum & Archives is launching ECO: Ecological Change in the Okanagan on Thursday, April 22.
Aimed at intermediate students in Grades 4 to 7 but available to all North Okanagan community members, it includes a 30-minute online program exploring local landscapes, featuring archival photos, and includes the perspective of local Syilx youth leader Justen Peters.
“It’s a tribute to the beautiful landscape of the North Okanagan, and to the talent and ingenuity of the people here, as it’s all locally created and produced, and uniquely centred on local history and ecology,” museum program coordinator Laisha Rosnau said.
The program explores the natural history, human history, the local ecosystem and how it has changed over time. As well as the film, there are then and now photos of local areas, inquiry and activity slides, a teacher’s guide, suggested activities and additional resources.
“The virtual format allows us to take participants all over the Greater Vernon area, from the grasslands of the Commonage, to the towering pines of Kal Park, to walking the Grey Canal, even watching BX creek flow through the Vernon Lodge,” Rosnau said.
“We know nothing can replace traditional field trips and getting students out in our community, but this program allows us to visit so many local landscapes, it’s like months of field trips.”
For a limited time, the ECO: Ecological Change in the Okanagan will be available for free for any interested teacher, independent learner, or community member.
In conjunction with the virtual program, the museum is hosting an online Earth Expo in partnership with the Vernon School District.
“We had hoped that perhaps we’d be in a position to have the Earth Expo on-site this year, but we’ve found ourselves having to ‘pivot,’ yet again,” said Rosnau. “Changing the way we display, exhibit and program things this year has allowed us to experiment, expand our thinking, and grow a lot as an organization.”
Working with teacher Vipasha Brar, the GVMA will host the Earth Expo as an online exhibit. “This has advantages, of course, as it means friends and family can take a look at the exhibit from wherever they are,” Brar said. “Students can send the link to family even out of the country.
“We’re encouraging students, teachers and parents to get outdoors to explore our beautiful valley, at the same time that we’re providing them with a historical context for local landscapes that can be accessed safely. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Both the Earth Expo and the ECO Virtual Program are launching on Earth Day, April 22. For more information and to access either, contact the Greater Vernon Museum & Archives www.vernonmuseum.ca.