PARKSVILLE, B.C. – Outdoor education centres will gather together later this month for the third annual Vancouver Island Nature Preschool Campference.

“It’s sort of a collective effort of all Vancouver Island nature preschools and early years nature education programs,” said Jarrett Krentzel.

Krentzel is the director of Hand-in-Hand Early Years Nature Education Program.

The program offers learning opportunities for children in the forests of Cumberland, Comox and in Campbell River. Krentzel said it fosters an understanding and appreciation for nature at an early age.

“It’s a way of us saying thank you to all the Vancouver Island families that have supported early years nature education programs,” he said, speaking on the Campference event, which takes place in Parksville in mid-June.

“We currently have about 20 nature preschools and/or early year nature education programs from the Island, and that is collectively bringing close to 150 children.”

He said at the conference, they would be holding free nature education teacher training sessions. Krentzel noted that about 40 teachers from across Vancouver Island would be attending.

He said there are some nature schools from Salt Spring Island, with most on Vancouver Island from Victoria up to Campbell River, and Tofino and Ucluelet.

Proceeds from the conference event are going towards three Vancouver Island-based fundraising campaigns, including Project Watershed’s efforts to restore the Comox estuary.

Further details on the Hand-in-Hand program can be found at hand-in-handeducation.com.

The conference takes place June 15 to 17 at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park in Parksville. More information on the event can be found via this link.

Photo caption: Students in the Hand-in-Hand Early Years Nature Education Program. Photo courtesy Hand-in-Hand.