News

Symposium puts focus on environment

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

Delhi District Secondary School students Georgia Nix, Elizabeth Clarke and Matt Bailey work on a project during the Grand Erie District School Board environmental symposium at Camp Trillium outside Waterford on Wednesday. A total of 150 students from eight area high schools took part in the day-long event. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

Delhi District Secondary School students Georgia Nix, Elizabeth Clarke and Matt Bailey work on a project during the Grand Erie District School Board environmental symposium at Camp Trillium outside Waterford on Wednesday. A total of 150 students from eight area high schools took part in the day-long event. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

WATERFORD - 

As Mother Nature continues to throw curveballs at residents in southwestern Ontario, the next generation of eco stewards gathered outside of Waterford.

Wednesday marked the annual Grand Erie District School Board environmental symposium at Camp Trillium.

It’s a yearly event that switches between elementary and high school students. The gathering allows interested youth to learn more about their surroundings and how they can make a difference.

This year high school students from Brant, Haldimand, and Norfolk were featured – 150 of them from eight area schools turned out.

“Any opportunity to learn in an authentic setting and be more aware of how they can make a difference as active citizens and as our future stewards of the Earth, I think, is a good step in the right direction,” said Fiona Navickas, an outdoor educator with the Long Point Region Conservation Authority.

Navickas spoke to students and led activities that focused on biodiversity, species at risk and invasive species.

“I’m at Backus (Heritage Conservation Area) most of the year, so to come off-site and meet all these different students that don’t normally come to our programs is a great opportunity,” she added. “It’s a good chance to get them active, outside and share with them some of the local issues that are occurring in the Long Point watershed.”

Programming included a keynote speech by Indigenous artist and activist Eddy Robinson.

Students also learned about the many different types of trees that sit in their own backyard.

“I like going through the forest because I have a lot of trails where I live,” said Deacon Howard of Valley Heights Secondary School. “That was fun.”

At one point, students were shown how their surroundings can help should they find themselves in a sticky situation.

“I think it’s very important for everyone to know how (these things) work because some day some of these people will need those (survival) skills,” said Tiana Seigmiller of Valley Heights.

There are many different sites within the school board boundary that could host the eco-conference but Camp Trillium is the perfect setting, Katie Hashimoto, the board’s supervisor of energy and environmental conservation said in a release.

“The location is a really important part of the day, too,” Hashimoto noted. “Being in nature – with the water, trees and fresh air – really drives home the purpose of the event.”

jrobinson@postmedia.com