North Island Secondary School (NISS) teacher Greg Muirhead’s Outdoor Stewardship 12 class has been spending their Monday afternoons going on different trips to local outdoor spots in and around the community.
“It’s a full semester long course where the majority of the course is spent doing different outdoor adventures,” said Muirhead. “The students look at things like identification of local plants, proper use of compasses and maps, outdoor survival, a little bit of wilderness first aid, navigation, knots and shelter building.”
So far the class has hiked the Marble River Trail, went snowshoeing at Mount Cain where they learned about avalanche info and snow science, hiked the Lady Ellen Trail, spent the weekend out at Bear Point where they camped and hiked along the beautiful bay beach trail, went out to San Jo Bay for the day, checked out the Little Huson caves at Bowser Cove, and have a multi-day kayaking trip out of Telegraph Cove coming up.
“It helps them explore opportunities on the north island,” said Muirhead, adding that when he first moved here he noticed that “the North Island is a wonderland of outdoor adventure, so I thought I’d try and get the kids involved in that.”
The Outdoor Stewardship 12 course is designed for anyone who’s interested in becoming confident, experienced and eco literate in multiple environments and outdoor recreation. Muirhead explained that he teaches the students about “the ecosystem of each area, indigenous practices, navigation and outdoor skills, what recreation activities are available in that specific environment, and the sustainable tourism practices within that area. It’s classroom work, but also field based. We’ve gone on some fantastic trips so far.”
The feedback on the course from his students this year has been nothing short of fantastic. “The students really enjoy going outside, learning all of the local hikes. I think they really like getting out of the classroom and learning the skills that are practical and useful.They’ve absolutely loved it. It’s a full house everyday,” said Muirhead, adding that his own favourite thing about the course is that he gets to “play outside and share my passion for the outdoors with others. If I can inspire students to appreciate what’s outside and what’s around them, that’s my happiest moment right there.”