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Elk Island National Park

Grade 6 - “F.I.T (Forest Investigator Team)” 

Students hit the trail during the Grade 6 Forest Investigator Team program
© Parks Canada

  • Program Type – Guided Hike (3.5km) and Workshop
  • Location –Astotin Lake Area and Lakeview Trail
  • Program Length – 3 Hours 
  • # of Participants – 30 (max.)

The biological diversity of the Beaver Hills has been protected in Elk Island National Park for over 100 years, but even protected areas often need to perform environmental assessments if the park or third-party companies propose developments. In this hypothetical scenario, Parks Canada has contracted your class (the Forest Investigator Team) to perform an environmental assessment on a potential theme park proposed for Elk Island.

After drafting their hypotheses and methods, the Forest Investigator Team will work their powers of observation and hit the trail! The team will collect evidence to conclude whether the project would pose a significant risk to the ecology of the park. During their investigation, they will learn more about trees, forests, and the animals that depend on them with the help of an interpretive guide.

Following their field study, students present their evidence, opinions and conclusions at a town hall style meeting to help Elk Island decide whether to move forward with the development. Students participate in a fictitious but potentially real scenario in the F.I.T. (Forest Investigator Team) program, which demonstrates how Parks Canada uses physical, biological and social science as well as public feedback to help manage its protected areas.

Alberta Education Curriculum Links

Grade 6 Social Studies:

a) Value citizens’ participation in a democratic society
b) How can individuals, groups, and associations participate in the decision-making process regarding current events or issues?
c) Propose and apply new ideas, strategies and options supported with facts and reasons to contribute to decision-making and problem solving
d) Draw and support conclusions based on information gathered to answer a research question
e) Express reasons for their ideas and opinions

Grade 6 Science:

a) Recognize evidence of animal activity in a natural outdoor setting
b) Investigate evidence and link it to a possible source
c) Identify reasons why trees and forests are valued (forests serve as habitat and are important for human needs)
d) Describe characteristics of trees and the interaction of trees with other living things in the local environment (leaves, growth patterns etc)
e) Identify an issue regarding forest use, identify different perspectives on that issues and identify actions that might be taken