Nat Hab is pleased to share that the FortWhyte Alive Class Act project in Winnipeg, Canada, has been selected to receive a philanthropy grant for the coming year. The $2,500 will sponsor 10 classroom field trips for students at underserved schools, allowing 250 children to reconnect with the natural world.

Students give a "green thumb's up" to gardening lessons in the greenhouse, a part of Class Act's From Farm to Fork program.

Students give a “green thumb’s up” to gardening lessons in the greenhouse, a part of FortWhyte’s From Farm to Fork program.

FortWhyte Alive is an educational nonprofit that teaches schoolchildren about nature and sustainability through experiential learning in the outdoors. Each year, the nonprofit provides affordable environmental programs to 30,000 K-12 students in Manitoba. Nat Hab travelers on our polar bear adventures have the special opportunity to visit FortWhyte Alive and learn more about their educational initiatives when they opt to spend an Extra Day in Winnipeg.

Participants in the environmental education program Ever-Changing Ecology identify local species and create dichotomous keys of a freshwater ecosystem.

“This is fantastic news, and we are so excited to partner with Nat Hab to support our Class Act program,” said Jackie Avent, Director of Grants and Sustainability at FortWhyte Alive.

At FortWhyte Farm,

At FortWhyte Farms, 2nd and 3rd graders in the From Farm to Fork program help care for livestock, feeding and collecting eggs from pasture-raised chickens. The Manitoba farm teaches local youth about sustainable urban agriculture and, as a social enterprise, seeks to connect the Winnipeg community through farm shares, workshops, events and classes.

FortWhyte Alive has been offering guided nature programs to youth for more than 30 years. The courses, which meet Manitoba curriculum standards, cover a wide array of environmental topics. Kindergartners learn how animals prepare for Manitoba’s long, cold winters, while 8th graders investigate how to conserve the water reserves of our blue planet. Another program helps 4th and 5th graders confront the causes and consequences of a melting Arctic, described by FortWhythe as a chance to “journey northward by snowshoe to a world of wonder and change. At our onsite Field Station, you will have the chance to think like Arctic scientists, discovering the effects of climate change on snow, the Arctic food chain, and Inuit communities with traditional knowledge of the land and ice. Get connected with ways to slow the change by reducing pollution closer to home.”

Student researchers record their findings on guided field excursions.

Student researchers record their findings on guided field excursions.

Ever-Changing Ecology explores how humans have impacted the environment over time.

Course teachings also give an Aboriginal perspective, referencing the cultural heritage of the Inuit, Métis and First Nations people who have lived in this area for hundreds of years. For example, in the From Farm to Fork program, students discover wild edible plants, grow the “three sisters” (corn, beans and squash) and read books such as Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects, and Recipes for Children. Other classes invite elders to speak about their traditions and share their knowledge with younger audiences.

We are excited to recognize this exemplary organization and the wonderful work being done to inspire future generations to care about nature. Through environmental education and hands-on experiences in the outdoors, FortWhyte Alive encourages youth to become conservation ambassadors, helping students along the path to creating a better tomorrow and a more sustainable world.