Education and Public Outreach – Waterton ESI (Ecosystem Investigator) Camp
Involving children in national parks today ensures ambassadors for tomorrow© Parks Canada
Involving children in national parks today ensures ambassadors for tomorrow. The Waterton Ecosystem Investigator Camp (ESI) is an overnight outdoor education camp based in Waterton Lakes National Park.
Students experience the park ecosystem and learn how its different parts, including people, have shaped the landscape. Students also explore ecological issues facing Southern Alberta and how they can help make positive changes for the environment, regardless of where they live.
The camp collaborates with the local Kainai and Piikani First Nations and engages urban, regional and local students. Specific goals focus on Southern Alberta’s rough fescue and montane forest ecosystems as part of a larger five-year project titled 'Restoring Terrestrial Ecosystems Together'. The camp is linked to the Alberta Education curricula and features a variety of Grade 5 students from southern Alberta communities who come together to build positive relationships. For three weeks each term (spring and fall), there are two, three-day camps per week, with about 330 people participating in total.
"I loved being a weed-buster and helping the silky lupine. I felt like a superhero."
"It felt good to be running around in the fresh air."
"I really liked the native awareness part a lot! The Napi stories were fun to listen to."
"The field trip provided a starting point and experience that I am going to refer back to frequently in my Social Studies and Science units."
"It was a great bonding opportunity for the kids."
Fun statistics - fall 2010:
- Total kilometres hiked: 1768
- Cups of hot chocolate consumed: 813
- Bananas consumed: 135
- Number of new people who have heard of the half-moon hairstreak butterfly: 271
- Bags of knapweed picked: 36
- Ghost stories told: 18
- Number of scraped knees: 6
- Number of slivers pulled out of fingers: 1