There he was. Bear 126, one of Canada’s most iconic grizzlies, wrestling with bear 142 in a field of wildflowers as the sun rose on a new Rocky Mountain day. Was it a fight over food or territory? No. In fact, it wasn’t a fight at all. Bears, we’re always told, are anti-social creatures, vicious and aloof. Yet in the early days of August – long removed from mating season – these two bruins are not only tolerating each other, but are engaging in what can only be described as play, undoing decades of accepted knowledge in the process.
Was it the by-product of a bumper berry crop? What role did the national park – the good and the bad – have on their behaviour? Is it possible we don’t know as much as we think we do about these icons of the high alpine? And, if we have more to learn, what can they teach us about biodiversity and our role in safeguarding the systems that sustain us?
Impactful and immersive storytelling brings to life an innovative digital ecosystem of curated resources designed for inquiry-based, exploratory learning. Across four subjects, Nature Labs uses biodiversity as a real-world example of course lessons in order to strengthen interdisciplinary education and foster a new generation of environmentally literate citizens.
Canada’s natural inheritance is unparalleled, but safeguarding our biodiversity is not without its challenges. Canada’s 2020 Biodiversity Goals, a bipartisan objective, aims to tackle this problem, but the task is daunting with the discourse surrounding the environment becoming increasingly polarized and overly simplistic. To overcome a citizenry who are overwhelmed, misinformed and apathetic, we must heal the wounds that divide and that starts by equipping teachers with the tools to deconstruct the complex and enliven the obscure. After all, education is the most cost-effective means of creating a new generation that understands and appreciates the value of nature – and thinks critically about how Canada can create a better balance between people and the environment.
Existing curricula in every province provides for learning intersections with biodiversity, but current resources are mostly biased, dry or out-dated. Nature Labs uses the grade nine guidelines for Science, English, Social Studies and Art to equip teachers with unit and lesson plans that use biodiversity as the lens, each being enhanced by student-selected learning vehicles or stories and all being underpinned by thoughtful, diverse multi-media content designed for all learning styles.
Each unit plan can be used independently or concurrently with different teachers from other courses, creating seamless and intuitive classroom integration. Lesson plans will be enhanced by daily updates, ensuring that Nature Labs is a living prototype and responsive to current events and teacher needs. And through Nature Labs Premium, schools will have the option of evolving the offering with class-customized lessons, community-specific content linkages, live and interactive virtual presentations, virtual class field trips, on-demand professional development for teachers, and virtual homework help for students.
With Nature Labs, teachers will gain plug-and-play resources that develop their capacity, enable no-fuss interdisciplinary education and deliver on the often-vague, ministry-driven guidelines. Students will use their own interests to drive learning outcomes and, by leveraging inquiry-based and experiential education, they will be able to foster a sense of ownership for their natural inheritance and have the competency to solution-make for a better world.
Learn more at NatureLabs.ca