Working together to learn about conservation and agriculture

The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area, about 15 minutes southwest of Calgary, has long been a favourite field trip destination for local schools and educators.

Now, thanks to a collaboration with Inside Education – a non-profit group supporting multiple perspectives on environmental and natural resources in Alberta – the area could become a site for ongoing agricultural education.

“Inside Education and Cross Conservation bring complementary expertise to agriculture education,” said Kathryn Wagner, program director at Inside Education.

Inside Education has a suite of agriculture education programs, including classroom presentations, agriculture career summits, school garden grants and teacher professional development programs supporting the K-12 curriculum. In the coming years, they hope to add a provincewide youth agriculture education summit, field-based programs and classroom resources.

Cross Conservation offers experiential nature and discovery programs to children of all ages.

How a collaboration could work

The collaboration came through an introduction by the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association (ACFA).

Kathryn said initial ideas include credit-based programs, an agriculture demonstration site for both student programs and teacher professional development, and field trips that use the conservation area, local producers and other sites.

The goal is to provide up-to-date, relevant and meaningful agriculture education to inspire young people to be engaged environmental stewards and responsible decision-makers. 

“Working together with Cross Conservation, we can encourage students and teachers to consider how environmental, societal and economic values can be balanced on the landscape,” Kathryn said.

Representatives from Inside Education and ACFA plan to tour the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area this summer.

You can learn more about agriculture education in How student-managed farming is teaching the next generation of beef producers, and How Olds College is preparing agriculture students for the future.

This is the third post in our Agriculture Education series.