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Student Community Outreach project for seniors is for the birds

Students at Lake Trail Community School are using their new applied design skills in construction to create a project that will bring benefit to the community.

Grades 6 and 7 students in a cross curricula class constructed 50 bird feeders that were distributed to various senior residences, care homes and assisted living facilities throughout the Comox Valley from March 17th to 19th.

William Bakker and Dawnn Thorson brought a unique community outreach project to their students, with the support of the District Careers Department that oversees Applied Design, Skills & Technologies (ADST) learning and instruction.

Careers coordinator, Dawn Anderson, has created grade appropriate workbooks to help guide teachers in delivering hands on experience working with tools and materials that are not typically found in a traditional K-7 setting. 

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Projects ranged from planters and pollinator boxes for Mason Bees, to bird feeders and bird houses, as a few examples.

Anderson explained that the goal of her careers team is to support innovative learning and to appeal to a broad range of student interests by providing teacher with instruction and supplies that encourage design thinking, student engagement and collaboration.

Bakker acknowledged that he cannot take full credit for the community outreach idea solely. 

Education assistant Corinna Wainwright, had heard about a similar story in another region of students constructing feeders for seniors, and presented the concept to the teachers.

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“It’s amazing even during COVID how much collaboration this [project] involves,” said Bakker. “This is a part of schooling we don’t think about and school administrators have given the leeway to pursue the project.”

Lake Trail Community Education Society (LTCES) joined the effort to be a liaison between the school and seniors in the Comox Valley and identified a list of willing recipients of a feeder, including the Kiwanis Village, Comox Valley Seniors Support Society, The Junction, Cumberland Lodge, Stevenson Place Independent Living, and the Immigrant Welcome Centre.

Students involved in the project said the experience was fulfilling and are pleased their bird feeders are being given to seniors who have been isolated.

“Learning is a lot more fun with a hands-on project,” shared Liam Thomson.

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“I prefer a balance between bookwork and hands-on learning because it is good for creativity,” added Jacob Price.

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