Monday, September 28, 2009

Scenic Route with a Story

Killarney Provincial Park is beautiful. If you are ever in the area, you must go see it. The view from the top of the La Cloche mountain range is absolutely breathtaking. One of our professors, Dr. Dave Pearson (whom we call Dr. Dave), was invited to join the Friends of Killarney Park on the hike to describe the rich geological history of the area. Our SciComm (Science Communication) class tagged along for fun.


The park is about an hour drive from Sudbury and it borders Georgian Bay. The changing of seasons was quite evident with the bright red and gold leaves accenting the green surroundings. After hiking through the dense forest, we stopped at a small bridge next to Kakakise Lake where Dr. Dave told a few geological stories about the area. Did you know that the La Cloche Mountains are the tallest in the world for their age; 2.5 billion years?!


Continuing our hike, we scrambled along the white rock of the La Cloche Range up to “The Crack”, a natural cleft in the rock. It was definitely a workout going up over those rocks but it was totally worth it. We were rewarded with a spectacular view of the lakes and trees of the surrounding area.

So... how does this relate to science communication? Well, I and Myles (fellow classmate) talked a lot about it on our hike. People who enjoy outdoor activities are curious about their surroundings, be it coloured rocks, to the native plants and animals in the area. Park signs and interpretation centres are great, but guided hikes, canoe trips and other activities are wonderful ways for engaging the public in the natural world. In my home province of Newfoundland, eco-tourism activities are becoming a big industry.

What’s the secret to creating a great educational field trip? As Dr. Dave says, “have a story” and “be prepared”. Stories capture the imagination and appeal to a variety of ages. There is always a story in nature, a change in the landscape, the geological history or migration of an animal. Paint a picture for your audience with stories and visual aids (maps, field guides, surroundings) and they’ll find the science interesting and easy to understand. Challenging your audience to find evidence (types of mineral, animal tracts) of your story can also be fun and instil a sense of discovery.


Eating fish and chips. Left to Right: Mylene Lenzi, Julie Fisowich, Myles Carter, Merissa Scarlett, Holly Baker, Iara Dos Santos.

The hike was fun for everyone and as I keep saying, the scenery was amazing. To finish off the trip, the SciComm students went to a neat little fish and chip shop in Killarney. They had pretty good fish and chips and as a Newfoundlander, that’s saying a lot.

- Justin

No comments:

Post a Comment