The story of the natural world as seen through the eyes of Chase Secondary Students will soon be available to people walking the trails at Tsutswecw Provincial Park in the North Shuswap.
A group of Grade 9-12 students are working to create a new way to experience the park (formerly Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park) — an interactive story trail. Once the students’ project is complete, signs with QR codes, which can be read by smart phones, will be placed at points of interest along the trail explaining features of the park.
Scanning the QR codes will lead users to web pages hosting audio recordings made by the students, which will draw visitors to features of the park and Secwepmc cultural heritage.
Students started work on the project by walking the trail and identifying interesting locations on Feb. 19. under the guidance of their teacher Ivy Chelsea.
“When people are walking along the trail where these different QR codes are going to be, I’m hoping they are going to connect with the spirit of that land and acknowledge that environment around them, because we (humans) were one of the last ones here,” Chelsea said.
The project is expected to be complete by early June.
Partnering with SD#73 and Chase Secondary on the project are BC Parks, the BC Parks Foundation and other agencies.
Jennie McCaffrey, a representative of the parks foundation, said it is hoped the story trail at Tsutswecw will be a pilot project for more interactive trail signage at other parks.
“Our goal is to create a wow experience. This is not just a one-off; they want it to be a network at other parks throughout the province,” she said.
McCaffrey said those working on the story trail project are focusing on creating signs that won’t negatively impact the park environment or get in the way of its natural beauty.
The story trail project is in response to an increased demand for interpretive programming in provincial parks, particularly programming dealing with indigenous cultural heritage, McCaffrey said.
She expects the story trail will be a big draw for families looking to experience nature in a new way once it is completed.