Everett Snowdon of Eagle View Elementary leaps from the war canoe following a paddle during the science camp at Cluxewe Resort last week.

Students turn Cluxewe into classroom

Local schools turn the coastal resort into a two-day classroom in the inaugural SD85 Science Camp.

CLUXEWE RESORT—The calendar says it’s the off-season for this popular North Island destination. But it was overrun for a couple of days last week as local schools turned the coastal resort into a two-day classroom in the inaugural SD85 Science Camp Nov. 20-21.

The camp, facilitated by a three-year, $15,000 grant and the sponsorship of Cluxewe Resort itself, brought together students from North Island and Port Hardy Secondary Schools and Eagle View Elementary in Port Hardy for two days of instruction, presentations, photography and role-playing while learning how water shaped the local environment and the people who lived here prior to European colonization.

“The students are looking at how water shaped the land, and how water was used by the people who lived here,” said Sean Barfoot, EVES’s Outdoor Education Coordinator. “The big picture is looking for cultural connections, as well. At one time, there was a village of 1,500 people here. “

There were not quite as many in attendance last week. But the science camp did draw a varied slice of academia from NISS, whose Grade 9 students camped overnight, following a moonlight clam dig, in cabins along with several Grade 12 mentors. They were joined on the first day of the camp by fellow Grade 8s from PHSS and on the second day by Grade 6-7 students from Eagle View, at which point the NISS Grade 8s became the mentors.

“The grand idea is to combine the curriculum in the school with experiences in our ecology,” said Barfoot. “And it’s all right here on this site. It’s quite extraordinary.”

The grant, provided by the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation, provided $10,000 this year and another $2,500 over each of the next two years to enrich the learning experience for students by providing enhancements to their science, technology and mathematics programs.

The initial $10,000 was devoted largely to the purchase of 20 computer tablets, split evenly between NISS and PHSS, which were employed last week for the purpose of taking photos and recording other information that will be used in a final presentation by the students.

“It can either be a power-point or some other presentation,” said student Saiya Gachter of NISS. “The idea is, we get to chronicle the biodiversity here, using pictures and other information written on the tablets.”

Curriculum for the camp was set by the science instruction team of Rena Sweeney, Wendie Jensen and Greg Muirhead of NISS, along with Barfoot and the First Nations contributions of Child. The help of Mike Child, Cluxewe custodian, was also credited.

The camp featured a lab to compare the salinity of the waters of the river, the estuary and the ocean, and another that

But the real enhancement to the project came simply from being on the ancient village site, which features coastline, an estuary and river system.

“It connects what they’re learning to where they live,” said Kaleb Child, an aboriginal education who guided Eagle View students in a paddle of Broughton Strait in a traditional war canoe. “Hopefully this will move their lessons from theory to an understanding of how it connects to the community where they live.”