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Board & City partner to provide experiential learning to secondary students
November 23, 2016

Community and curriculum will come together when students from the Katarokwi Aboriginal School and Second Chance program work together to cull overcrowded trees that will later be used in the construction of two indigenous teepees for use in the Limestone District School Board (LDSB).

About a dozen students will participate in a two-day training program that will culminate with the cutting of poplar trees in the City of Kingston-owned Belle Park.

“The purposes of this activity is threefold,” says LDSB Native Studies Teacher Steve Hickling. “We aim to educate students about safe operating practices, to build experiences together, and to connect to the curriculum and our community.”City of Kingston logo
Students begin with a full day of indoor safety training and learning that includes safe operation of a chainsaw, a certification available within the Specialist High Skills Major program. Then, on Thursday, Nov. 24, students will travel to Belle Park to harvest the trees under the supervision of a certified chainsaw instructor. Students will also strip the bark from the trees following the cutting which will proceed rain/snow or shine.

“This project is a perfect example of experiential learning where we immerse students in an experience and have them reflect about the experience to develop new skills and attitudes,” says Michael Mol, LDSB Expanded Opportunities Consultant. “When there is a clear purpose and outcome that students can see, they are motivated to learn and that learning process is rich.”

Working with staff from the City of Kingston’s Real Estate and Environment Initiatives Department using a scientific survey of several tree stands, students identified 25 trees for removal. Students used components of the math and science curriculum during the survey.

“Our poplar trees form part of the environmental management program at the closed Belle Park Landfill,” says Brodie Richmond the City’s Environmental Projects Manager.  “They were planted as live stakes back in 2008 and now some need to be thinned out in order for the tree plantations to function properly.”

Some of the trees will be used for teepee poles. One of the teepees is already being painted by students from the Katarokwi Aboriginal School and Second Chance. It will be erected at the Aboriginal School’s new site at the former Frontenac Public School. A second teepee will be painted by Native Studies students from across the school district and will be erected at Gould Lake Outdoor Education Centre. Both teepees are scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Hickling says that gaining a certificate in safe chainsaw operation will provide expanded opportunities for some students. “While some students may never again operate a chainsaw, it will provide others with the knowledge and skills to keep themselves safe and may also enhance their employability regardless of the job.”

Media are invited to attend the event from 10:30-11:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 24 at Belle Park off Montreal Street (south side of the property).

For more information, please contact:
Karen Smith, Communications Officer
Limestone District School Board
613.544.6920 ext. 314 | 613.328.0947 mobile
Cindie Ashton, Media Relations Officer
City of Kingston
613.546.4291 ext. 3116 | 613.329.3462 mobile