Battling gusts of wind, 135 middle school students manned tables in Esquimalt Gorge Park on Friday, sharing projects that explore the history and planning the future of the Gorge waterway.
Grade 8 students at Glanford middle school in Saanich created the projects in response to a question posed by teachers “How have humans changed the Gorge waterway and what do you propose for its future? In groups of five or six they tackled recreation, pollution and myriad other topics in a cross-curriculum two-week project – meaning they worked into the history, science, social studies and English aspects of the project.
“Essentially its us having them work through a real life project in their town,” said teacher Mark Gerhardt.
Whitney Tran and Gemma Curdie were part of the group that created a native planting area.
“Right here maybe,” Curdie said, gesturing the grassy area between the Gorge Waterway Nature House and the brackish water itself. “Maybe one of these (projects) could happen here one day.”
The pair were struck by the First Nations traditional healing aspects they learned about while investigating the native plant species. Another piece of infrastructure history, the old dive platform that used to adorn the Gorge, seemed to strike a particular chord.
“It was interesting seeing what happened here 100 years ago,” Curdie said.
In an unfortunate bit of kizmet, students take forays to the nearby bridge where a boom and absorbent pads spread to soak up a sheen of oil discovered on the water the night before. They walked over to learn from World Fisheries Trust staff, who run the Gorge Waterway Nature House and helped the students with the projects, all about oil spills while looking at rainbow hue in person.