COMMENT – April 2021

Photo Karen Graham. Cavan is their outdoor classroom. Located along the edge of the school yard, it offers a quiet sanctuary for exploration and discussion and even an outdoor kitchen. The area is currently suffering from broken tree branches, muddy holes and debris, providing an opportunity for students to better understand their impact on their natural environment. Seeing the opportunity for a “teachable moment”, the School Council has decide to enhance the area by planting new trees and building platforms over wet areas in concert with school staff and students.

It’s easy to appreciate the environment these days with sunny skies, warming weather and a symphony of birdsong.  Even the honking geese are welcome, for now.

For youngsters, the excitement of running through the woods, climbing trees and mucking about in the mud is natural, but comes with consequences, including broken branches, trampled plants and damaged water courses.

It’s hard to curb the enthusiasm of youth, but we can start by setting an example.  The Millbrook School Council is joining staff in their efforts to develop awareness and respect of the impact of students’ actions on the natural environment with expert environmental speakers from Otonabee Conservation, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and others.  They are considering fundraising for the purchase of native plant material for the area, as well as more natural seating and fitness options like balance logs and pull up stations to discourage using tree branches for these fun activities.

Unfortunately there is also a need to restrict access to vulnerable parts of the space at times when conditions are dangerous- for the visitor or the environment.  A true appreciation of nature begins with respect.  How will you celebrate Earth day this month?  KG

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