Welcome to International GuestsInternational visitors to the North Vancouver Outdoor School
Recent visitors to the North Vancouver Outdoor School (NVOS) added an international flair and new perspectives to the outdoor school life during their stay. Mark Reeves, principal of the School for Student Leadership in Victoria, Australia arrived here on a mission to learn more on youth leadership and American Eileen Fielding contributed enthusiastically to the innovative hummingbird banding program at the school.
Reeves, recipient of a Churchill Fellowship, which allows people to design their own research project, travel the world and further their knowledge, before returning to make a contribution to Australian society, is on a 10-week mission to gather data on youth leadership. He is at the helm of three schools back in his home state of Victoria, collectively called the School for Student Leadership, which delivers nine-week residential school programs for students in Grade 9 / 10. Reeves is here to see how outdoor education programs are run in Canada, with the aim to convince the Victorian Department of Education just how valuable these programs are and to build on them.
The counsellors at NVOS during the week of May 24 to 27 were treated to a presentation by Reeves, with a showing of a DVD on the School for Student Leadership, followed by a discussion on leadership where counsellors were asked, “What does leadership mean to you?”
Reeve’s passion for outdoor education is discernable and he is clearly delighted with his visit to the North Vancouver Outdoor School. “I love this school and I love this sort of education and it’s always my belief that every kid in every school should have access to this sort of experience,” he said. “And if they did, I think we would have fewer problems with stewardship, ownership issues, conservation issues and environmental issues. So these are the people who will make those decisions in the future, and the more we can build on their knowledge and understanding, the better the world will be.”
Eileen Fielding, executive director of the Farmington River Watershed Association in Connecticut has come to NVOS to assist in the hummingbird banding program, thanks to the highest bid in an auction. NVOS principal Victor Elderton donated a stay at the school to the Association of Nature Center Administrators’ auction at their national meeting last year, and Fielding “jumped at the chance and bid for that item,” she said with a smile. She is enthralled with NVOS and is inspired to bring nature-based education back to her state.
“If I could bring this kind of educational experience to the kids that we work with, with a focus on restoring the river and on restoring the fish in the river, like you have here, that would be just terrific,” she said. “It would be a whole new dimension on what we do and I think it would be a great idea.”
Mark Reeves can be reached on email@example.com and contact Eileen Fielding by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.