A self-paced scavenger hunt at Aldergrove Regional Park lets families enjoy a walk in the park and learn about local plants and animals. See how park interpreters and discovery stations set the stage for experiential learning.
Jill Deuling, a park interpretation specialist for Metro Vancouver, welcomes a group of children and parents to a display along the trail at Aldergrove Regional Park.
“If you all come over I can explain it and the parents are going to help with this,” she says, beckoning them over to a pop-up tent where the visitors can sample a cup of hemlock needle tea.
“The Springtime Nature Sense Tune-up is an opportunity for families to get out and go for a walk in the park,” explains Deuling. “We’ve set up games and activities so they can explore nature using different senses. It’s just to create a bit of an adventure and a memorable experience, so it’s a scavenger hunt.”
Slugs and snails are the main attraction at another one of the stations.
“If you look really closely you can see the muscles rippling along his tummy,” says Lisa Dreves, Stewardship Coordinator for the Langley Environmental Partners Society, holding up a sheet of clear plexiglass with slugs and snails, as a young girl examines the undersides of the gastropods.
“Today I was telling the kids about snails and slugs, particularly banana slugs, but we were able to bring out some of our lovely not-native species for the kids to hold and touch,” says Dreves. “Reaching out to young people is great, anything hands-on, they can get very tactile, they love to feel things and touch things and they seem to learn really well in that environment, especially outside. We have some great outdoor education programs that we teach and the kids come away with a greater understanding of sustainable living.
“I think if young people develop a positive relationship with parks and the outdoors, they go on to care more about nature,” says Deuling. “Even when they are just having some good old-fashioned fun outside.”