High school students can now immerse themselves in an authentic research space suitable for environmental sciences programming, while earning dual credit in high school and post-secondary botany, ecology, geology, zoology and aquaponics courses.
A mobile environmental sciences lab, created collaboratively by Lethbridge College and Livingstone Range School Division, was launched Sept. 7. Representatives of the two institutions were on hand at PEAKS Campus, the school division’s place-based learning centre in Crowsnest Pass, to officially unveil the lab.
“I think that with this lab comes a unique opportunity to provide world-class education for our students that kids in rural areas tend to have trouble accessing otherwise,” says Chad Kuzyk, associate superintendent of curriculum and innovation for LRSD.
Students will have no shortage of experiential learning opportunities when using the field-study lab.
“This space will provide our students with an authentic learning experience that you just can’t get in the classroom,” says LRSD superintendent Darryl Seguin.
“We have this beautiful area that we live in, so what better way to provide students with the opportunity to learn more about the environment and careers in the field than to provide them with the space to do so.”
Jonathan Friesen, a lab technician for Lethbridge College who helped design the space, says the lab is equipped to ensure students have everything they need to conduct industry-standard studies.
“We want to get high school students interested in the environmental sciences, and this lab was designed to be a good way for students to get their feet wet,” he says.
The lab includes microscopes, binoculars, chest waders, nets, storage tanks, sensors, safety kits, weather gear, water flow measuring software, a generator and a canopy. It will provide students with a clear pathway into post-secondary education and careers in environmental sciences.
Students can rest assured that this one-of-a-kind mobile unit is designed for use during all four seasons.
“Countless hours of planning and work went into this custom project so it could be comfortable and self-sufficient for students year-round, and we are excited to see the learning experiences that will take place within it,” says Dr. Terry Kowalchuk, dean of Lethbridge College’s Centre for Technology, Environment and Design, via press release.
In coming weeks, high schools within the division will have opportunities to check out the lab so that teachers and students alike know what new resources are at their fingertips.
This project was made possible by a $100,000 grant provided to the educational institutions by the Alberta Education Dual Credit Enhancement Fund.