Friday, 03 March 2017 08:00

Students take active roles in creating signage at Beauvais provincial park near Pincher Creek

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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Four students from Matthew Halton School in Pincher Creek volunteered to help install the new interpretive sign their English class created for Beauvais Lake. Four students from Matthew Halton School in Pincher Creek volunteered to help install the new interpretive sign their English class created for Beauvais Lake. Photo contributed

Grade 10 English Arts students from Matthew Halton School in Pincher Creek have created a new interpretive sign at Beauvais Lake.


This project was a collaboration with the Alberta Green School Initiative, Alberta Council for Environmental Education, The Oldman Watershed Council, the Waterton Biosphere Reserve and Alberta Parks.
Heidi Eijgel, Beauvais Lake’s visitor services supervisor, says she got together with representatives from the aforementioned organizations and some teachers to brainstorm how to get more students outside and involved in the park.
They realized new interpretive signs were needed at Beauvais Lake and the idea of involving students was raised. This became an official Alberta Green School project, so they were able to provide some funding to help teachers participate in the project's development.
The students were asked to take the lead, deciding the text that would be on the sign with a recreation and wildlife focus.
“It was more of a general introduction to the things that you can do in Beauvais Lake Provincial Park,” says Eijgel.
The students took a field trip to Beauvais Lake to find inspiration for their theme of the new interpretive sign. 
“It was fun too, because I could show them (students) some of the older signs that we were replacing and we discussed their location and the message that we were trying to get to our audience and who our audience was for those signs,” adds Eijgel.
The students went to the Pincher Creek museum and spoke to the curator where they found out about some of the interesting history stories that took place in the park.
As well, a group of students heard there was a large Douglas fir tree at the lake, so they were guided to that tree. They measured the tree’s diametre and wrote about the tree for the interpretive sign.
Eijgel says the students did a lot of research for this project.
“We had some very old interpretive signs that were outdated, that we had taken out.”
The interpretive signs have lifespans of five to 10 years, so her plan is to, slowly over the years, replace those signs with new information.
Thanks to the project, students had the chance to work with editors and see what it would be like if they were doing this for a career.
“A project like this is so important, because … if students lead it, I think they have more opportunity to get something that they value out of their project,” adds Eijgel.
On Jan. 20, the unveiling of the interpretive sign took place at Beauvais Lake and the project was officially completed.
Several students volunteered to help install the sign as well.
This project took about two years to compete from start to finish, but the students started working on it last year with the research component.
For more information on the project visit: http://www.abcee.org/high-school-english-and-environmental-education.

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