In his na­ture

With pas­sion for teach­ing kids, Eric Ed­ward happy at Macphail Woods

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SALLY COLE

Eric Ed­ward is hav­ing a busy sum­mer.

As the en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tor at Macphail Woods, he’s lead­ing kids’ camps, Shar­ing A Love of Na­ture.

He is also over­see­ing Re­store an Acre, a for­est restora­tion pro­ject that is mak­ing im­prove­ments on a 220-acre for­est on the Selkirk Road, thanks to public fund­ing cam­paign. Although it’s a jug­gling act, at times, he wouldn’t change it. It’s im­por­tant to do restora­tion work.

“We’re fit­ting it into the sched­ule this sum­mer so we can get into the woods and do the work we promised to do,” says Ed­ward, adding the fundrais­ing cam­paign has, so far, re­ceived $16,000.

It’s equally im­por­tant to teach kids about na­ture, be­cause ev­ery­one is re­liant upon it.

“We’re part of the eco sys­tem and it’s re­ally im­por­tant that kids un­der­stand where we fit into that. And how the de­ci­sions that they make as they go forth in life can have pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive ef­fects.”

So, with the help of oth­ers, Ed­ward has been run­ning week­long camps for young en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists. Last Thurs­day the theme was track­ing.

“We started the day get­ting the kids to think about an­i­mals and their homes. The we did a pre­sen­ta­tion on track­ing fol­lowed by a track­ing hike.”

Af­ter that, they looked for owl pel­lets and tracked Big Foot — a staff mem­ber in cos­tume — in the woods.

“We just want kids to have a com­fort­able ex­pe­ri­ence and feel like they can en­gage in na­ture pos­i­tively through their lives.” What does he like best? “It’s learn­ing with the kids. Ev­ery year we see the sea­sons dif­fer­ently. And ev­ery time we go out­side there’s some­thing new to see. And that’s def­i­nitely my favourite part.”

GUARDIAN PHOTO

Eric Ed­ward, en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tor at Macphail Woods, poses with a group of young­sters who re­cently par­tic­i­pated in a kids’ camp called Shar­ing A Love of Na­ture.

GUARDIAN PHOTO

Eric Ed­ward works on a for­est restora­tion pro­ject on 220 acres on the Selkirk Road.

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