These students planted close to 100 native trees and shrubs in Kokanee Creek Provincial Park recently. Photo submitted

These students planted close to 100 native trees and shrubs in Kokanee Creek Provincial Park recently. Photo submitted

Redfish students get hands dirty in provincial park

Students re-wilded an area at Kokanee Creek that had recently been cleared for additional campsites

Submitted by Wildsight

Students from Maggie Hodgson’s Grade 4/5/6 class at Redfish Elementary recently spent a day getting their hands dirty in support of their local provincial park.

The students planted close to 100 native trees and shrubs in Kokanee Creek Provincial Park campground, in an effort to re-wild an area that had recently been cleared for additional campsites.

“This project was a great way to make a difference, in just one day, to a local place that means so much to many people,” said Monica Nissen, Wildsight educator. “Wildsight’s Ecostewards program is all about getting students out of the classroom and taking action to care for our wild places.”

Students worked diligently, having discussed the values of West Kootenay ecosystems and the biodiversity found here in previous classroom sessions. Reclamation efforts included planting red-osier dogwood, wild rose, beaked hazelnut, Douglas maple, and other species that are native to the area.

“The native shrubs and trees will not only enhance the area and provide privacy between campsites,” explained Anne Pigeon of RAP Park Contracting, “but they will also help deter ingrowth of invasive species.”

Students even added woody debris back into the planted areas, to provide habitat features for animals. The re-planting project was done in collaboration with a wide variety of dedicated volunteers. A celebratory barbecue topped off the event.

“It was so special, seeing so many adult volunteers come out to support the project,” said Nissen. “These folks are so dedicated to the place — they are real friends and neighbours of the park. Their presence and interactions with the students certainly showed what it means to care about a local wild place. I saw some lovely mentorship moments.”