While physical distancing with COVID-19 continues, one lucky group of students has received some great news worth celebrating. Christine Blinn and Mathieu Viens’ Grade 7/Secondary 1 class from Butler Elementary School in Bedford, Que., have won an all-expenses-paid, five-day trip to Kootenay National Park in recognition of their work in educating their school and community about proper recycling and composting.
This is the grand prize for the annual Canada’s Coolest School Trip (CCST) contest, which is run by Parks Canada in partnership with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and with support from Air Canada. The contest encourages students to learn about Canada’s national parks and cultural heritage by challenging them to create a conservation project that contributes to the protection of their local environment and/or local history or culture. Students document their work through a video, which they upload to the CCST website for public voting. Then, a panel of judges makes the final decision.
The winning video, Recycle and compost! Butler Elem. Que., stood out with its creative storytelling about how the class took steps to inspire and engage their school in more effective waste management. The students also reached out into their community and even made the front page of their local newspaper!
Originally planned for June 2020, the grand-prize trip has been rescheduled for 2021 as part of the safety measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the trip has been postponed, it will be worth the wait! At Kootenay National Park, students will have the opportunity to hike up to Stanley Glacier, explore Sinclair Canyon, examine ancient fossils at the Burgess Shale, go swimming in the heated pool at Radium Hot Springs and camp under the stars. Parks Canada’s 2021 Youth Ambassadors will also be joining the class on their B.C. adventure.
Runner-up winners will receive a field trip to a Parks Canada place in their local area, or to a similar location of historical or natural significance. This year’s runners-up are: Coudon, c’est quoi l’brayon? from Cité des Jeunes A.-M.-Sormany in Edmundston, N.B., Learning and Sharing our Stories from Michikan Lake School in Bearskin Lake, Ont., and Eliminating Plastic Bags in Golden, B.C. from Lady Grey Elementary in Golden Lake, B.C.
Visit coolestschooltrip.ca to see other contest entries, find out about prizes, and learn more. Next year is the special 10th anniversary edition of CCST, so be sure to check back in the fall for more details on how to enter!