How hands-on education is helping protect B.C.'s natural spaces, wildlife and aquatic species

October 19, 2023

A blue heron bird flying with trees behind.

Learning about B.C.’s environment and ecosystems is an important part of how we can continue to protect natural spaces, wildlife and aquatic species. Being surrounded by nature can help us appreciate the environment around us, find ways to help preserve these areas and help wildlife thrive in their habitats.

We’ve had the pleasure of learning more about how the Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre Society (KCDCS) is helping protect B.C.’s natural spaces, wildlife and aquatic species. Their organization provides hands-on education to students to teach them about why it’s important to find ways to preserve our local ecosystems.

The Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre Society

A bird watching blind structure.

Photo provided by KCDCS.

The KCDCS is a non-profit society located in Creston delivering engaging, informative and fun environmental education programs. They focus on the importance of wetlands and wildlife in the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA).

The CVWMA was the first wildlife management area in B.C. and spans across 7,000 hectares of wetland that is home to hundreds of species including more than 300 species of birds, 60 species of mammals and 17 species of fish.

Exploring nature in B.C.’s backyard

Through their Wetland Education and Awareness Program, participants get hands-on experience in the wetland. They learn about the value of the wetland’s ecosystem and management strategies, bird migration, the importance of insects to a healthy ecosystem and so much more. The society also provides programs that align with B.C.’s kindergarten to grade 12 school curriculums as well as offering guided canoe and walking excursions, interpretive presentations, kids summer nature games and group events.

Programs like this one help show students and visitors the importance of the CVWMA and how conservation efforts need to continue to protect the area. In addition, the society operates a Discovery Centre that gives visitors the opportunity to view hands-on, interactive educational displays and information about the wetland and wildlife of the CVWMA.

By educating people on the importance of wetlands, we are aiming to create an understanding and appreciation of the natural environment so that people can make informed decisions and take action related to the environment. We feel these types of programs are one of many tools needed to create active, engaged and informed citizens who are knowledgeable and respectful of the natural environment and hopefully spark curiosity that triggers further learning and exploration.

Carla Ahern, senior manager at KCDCS

Working together

A person standing in a tall bird blind and pointing out a bird far in the distance.

Photo provided by KCDCS.

Through our Community Investment Program, we provided funding support to the KCDCS for their programs to ensure they could continue to provide hands-on education to students. These programs are invaluable to help teach the next generation the importance of protecting the environment and aquatic species.

An arial view of wetlands with mountains in the distance.

Photo provided by KCDCS.