If you see the value of an on-the-Land model of learning and would like to see it accessible to every child in the NWT, help us achieve our goal! Together, we can ensure that the culturally and place-appropriate on-the-Land learning that we offer at Bushkids is embedded within our school system so that everyone can benefit long-term.
Learn more about why an on-the-Land model of learning is important to the future of the NWT here.
1. Read Creating Ethical Spaces: Opportunities to Connect with Land for Life and Learning in the NWT
Written by Bushkids co-founder Chloe Dragon Smith, this paper serves as our roadmap for policy change in the NWT.
2. Offer to Volunteer at a School
Some teachers and schools have strong Land-based programs in place. Some teachers have trained with us and are equipped to start their own outdoor practice, but don’t have the people-power to get started. In both of these cases, teachers can use your support. However, your support will make a special difference to those teachers who are just starting out. There are many ways you could help: share knowledge, acquire supplies, maintain a wall tent, repair equipment, or provide extra adult supervision. Every little bit helps!
3. Donate or Fundraise
A little extra money can go a long way. Donating or fundraising can bring in needed supplies or additional support to help take a classroom outdoors. For example, you could raise money to help appropriately compensate a knowledge holder to work with the school or teacher in delivering on-the-Land learning year-round. There are many ways that outside money can help make things happen within schools and even spark systemic change.
4. Share your ideas and expertise with Bushkids
We at Bushkids are not experts, but we are doing our best to take advantage of our strengths and passion to make change. We will continue to do our piece as best we can, but we are always open to new ideas, additional support, new partners and new collaborations. Our strength comes from our relationships – with ourselves, others, and Land.
6. Advocate to Local Decision Makers
We are already having positive conversations with various individuals and institutions about integrating on-the-Land learning into public school systems. But the more people make their voice heard, the more it will be prioritized. Below we have listed a number of ways you can help us to advocate and add your voice:
- Advocate to your MLA: Contacting your MLA to advocate for on-the-Land learning in the territory can lead to funding and policy changes which supports these sorts of projects in our schools. You can share Chloe’s paper “Creating Ethical Spaces: Opportunities to Connect with Land and Life in the NWT” as a rationale and starting point for policy.
- Advocate to ministers: Contact the ministers of Education, Culture, and Employment (ECE), Environment and Natural Resources (ENR), and Health and Social Services (HSS). Each of these departments has been called on to support this movement using the ideas in Chloe’s paper “Creating Ethical Spaces: Opportunities to Connect with Land for Life and Learning in the NWT” as a rationale and starting point for policy.
ECE – Minister R.J. Simpson
ENR – Minister Shane Thompson
HSS – Minister Julie Green
- Advocate to your school board or district education council: The trustees at each school board and the board members at each district education authority are in charge of strategic planning and/or how budgets are spent at schools. School board staff and trustees are key people at this level who can help us on our journey. Write a letter to the trustees, the chair of the school board or DEA, a superintendent, and/or a board staff member, such as the Indigenous culture and language coordinators. Encourage them to support daily opportunities for Land-based learning for children in the NWT.
- Advocate within your school (to your teacher/principal): Some schools are aware that we offer training and support to teachers that want to get their students outside. Any additional push from parents will help to move this higher on their agenda! Click here to find information about our professional development and mentorship opportunities.
If you are looking to reach out to decision-makers, feel free to use our advocacy letter template, found here.
5. Join Bushkids Mailing List
Members of this list will receive occasional news, resources, or calls for assistance.
Together, we can ensure that the culturally and place appropriate on-the-Land learning that we offer at Bushkids is embedded within our education system so that all children and youth can benefit. Thank you so much for your support!