Perhaps the best-selling RRU publication... ever
Doing your BSc in Environmental Science in the School of Environment and Sustainability involves participating in a group major project that takes much of your academic year to complete. Projects are proposed by community organizations who have the following: work that they need done relating to the focus of the BSc program; a promise to support the BSc student teams; and a bit of financial support to cover necessary expenses like travel. While students can bid on which project they are interested in, the make-up of the final groups is left to the program faculty and staff; essentially, students have little choice of their project and no choice about their teammates.
In 2013, BC's first nature kindergarten was being created in the Sooke School District at Sangster Elementary (and who would be using the RRU lands as the location of their outdoor sites). Frances Krusekopf, the district principal and one of the founders of the NatureK initiative at Sangster proposed that a team of BSc students in the 2013/14 cohort create a field guide for the kindergartners. She was hoping for something that would be easy and fun to use and would help orient the children to the natural history of the area they were going to be spending the year in.
While the proposal was accepted by the BSc program, my memory is that none of the students wanted to do it... it was at the bottom of everyone's rankings. Nonetheless, a team was created and the project assigned.
And what a project it was... These science-oriented undergraduates, with no experience in early childhood education or the design of nature pedagogy, created an inspired and inspiring field guide which has now sold more than 700 copies. Printed on waterproof paper, this field guide has been used by hundreds of students over the years. More interestingly, given that it was designed for the coastal Douglas Fir forest around the RRU campus, the guide has been purchased by people from across Canada and internationally as a model for what can be done to introduce young very children to the use of books to help answer questions as well as to wonderful facts about the natural world.
The copyright for the book is held by the students and by the Sooke School District and has only been reprinted for educational purposes with no one (other than the printer) making any profit on it. Their team name was Kreate: Imagine, Create, Inspire. This little project and those four students have left a remarkable legacy, and their efforts continue to inspire, leading many young people to further imagine and create!