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Student Success
Footprints
 
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Footprints began in 2007, and the objective of this conference is to expose students to many of the career opportunities within the environmental sector and the various skill sets that are required to work in those areas. Through these experiences, students will develop a greater appreciation for the planet, develop the skills required to care for the environment and promote social character development.


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Footprints

In September, Bruce Peninsula District School hosted the the annual Footprints Conference – Exploring Your Environment at Celtic Sports and Arts Centre on the beautiful Bruce Peninsula. The planning and organization of the Footprints Conference is an integral part of the Specialist High Skills Major: Environment programming at BPDS, as it provides valuable experiential and reach ahead learning opportunities for students.

The objective of this conference is to expose students to opportunities within the environmental sector and the various skill sets that are required to work in those areas. Through these experiences, students will develop a greater appreciation for the planet and the skills required to care for the environment. This year, 165 secondary students and more than 20 Bluewater staff attended the conference and participated in a variety of workshops and interest sessions.
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Full-day workshops on Thursday included: Environmental Arts; Canoeing; Kayaking; Environmental Science; How to be a Park Naturalist; Ropes/ Orienteering; Nature Photography; Emergency Response/Search and Rescue; Hiking the Bruce Trail;
Fly Fishing Basics; Local Food/ Sustainable Communities. Students arrived for registration and to set up their tents on Wednesday night, and were treated to a discussion on astronomy by local expert Doug Cunningham and some members from the Royal Astronomical Society.  High-powered telescopic lenses and a clear night sky enabled students to enjoy a rare treat and witness the moons of Jupiter and constellations.  

Sessions took place at Celtic Sports and Arts Camp and Bruce Peninsula National Park and were run by staff from those two organizations and about 25 teaching staff from the Bluewater District School Board. Students caught fish in the fly fishing workshop; the local food participants made fall harvest soup and organic tea biscuits; and the participants in the canoe and kayak workshops braved the elements on the shoreline of Lake Huron.  Despite the high winds and rain that moved in on Thursday afternoon, positive attitudes and enthusiastic participation were ingredients for a successful day. On Thursday night conference attendees were treated to a visit from Fluffy the rattlesnake and its handler, Sean Liipere, from the Bruce Peninsula National Park.  Mr. Liipere, on behalf of Parks Canada, has been instrumental in the planning, development, and facilitation of Footprints Conference since its inception four years ago.

Friday’s activities began with a variety of interest sessions, including yoga, fly fishing, archery, orienteering, non-traditional games, printmaking, hiking, renewable energy tour and knot tying.  The highlight of the conference occurred on Friday afternoon at 2:00 as honoured keynote speaker Maude Barlow captivated the crowd with her inspirational messages about the world water crisis. Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of The Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest citizen’s advocacy organization with members and chapters across Canada as well as the co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which works to stop commodification of the world’s water.
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The Footprints Conference was generously sponsored and supported by a variety of organizations: The Bluewater District School Board, the Four County Labour Market Planning Board and Passport to Prosperity, Ontario Power Generation, the Institute for Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies, as well as many others. This conference would not be possible if it were not for the excellent partnerships that exist between  Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park, Celtic Sports and Arts Camp, and Bruce Peninsula District School, who are the organizers of the Footprints Conference. We appreciate their dedication and commitment to this venture, and thank them for their continued support of this project.

-Jodi Naves and Jennifer Cameron
Footprints Conference Coordinators
Bruce Peninsula District School




© 2013 - Bluewater District School Board