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Making Memories: A Summer With the STRATHMA Explorers

Left to right - talking circles, basecamp and guest presenters from NSWA
Left to right - talking circles, basecamp and guest presenters from NSWA

By Tara Beck, Education Planning, Beaver Hills Biosphere

As the restlessness of fall migration begins to abate and we settle into the slower pace and shorter days of winter, it is the memories made under the brilliant sun of summer that can keep us warm during the coldest months. The Beaver Hills Biosphere is so grateful for the many memories made this past summer as we played in the forest with the STRATHMA Explorers.

STRATHMA Explorers - a pilot pop up program series planned and delivered in partnership with the Strathcona County Museum and Archives - saw groups of young learners exploring different natural spaces every 2 weeks through the summer. Each three-hour adventure offered a blend of structured and unstructured learning which invited participants to observe and connect with what they saw, felt, and wondered. Fueled by their own curiosities, learners shared experiences along the Beaver Hills Biodiversity trail, the Sherwood Park Natural Area and within the garden patch at the Museum. These special places taught us so much about ourselves, about each other, and about the Beaver Hills.

We are grateful to the incredible education staff from the Strathcona County Museum and Archives for inviting us to learn from them this summer. Working together to explore the power of nature-based learning was a great joy. Time spent with educators and young learners on the land, not only created great memories and friendships, but uncovered a potential for future such programming across all seasons.

Image captions

Left: Talking circles helped us get to know each other better. Ze, our talking rock, reminded us of the importance of listening to our fellow explorers as they shared their thoughts and stories.

Center: Setting up a basecamp allowed us to settle into some slow unstructured play. This gave explorers a chance to follow their own curiosities and wonders inspired by the land.

Right: We welcomed the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance to join us along the Biodiversity Trail. They sparked our wonder about the benthic invertebrates in the wetlands of the Beaver Hills Biosphere.