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Saskatoon Public Schools
Inspiring Learning
In order to utilize the Brightwater Science and Environmental Centre in a respectful and responsible manner, teachers should be familiar with the philosophical basis of this facility by reviewing the Brightwater vision, purpose and goals

The growing public awareness of a need to better understand natural systems and to develop responsible stewardship practices defines Brightwater’s expectations of how we behave and what, where and why we do what we do at the facility. By recognizing that all living and non-living components of the earth are one and that humans are part of this wholeness, the tendency to value the land as only a resource to be exploited might be overcome. In appreciation of the uniqueness and fragility of Brightwater’s sandy grasslands ecosystem, we request that all visitors respect the following guidelines and restrictions while on site.

Group Size and Supervision

It is recommended that only one class at a time access the site, or if there is more than one class, the overall group number is less than 30 to 35 students. This restriction results from the observations of larger groups having a much greater impact on this fragile ecosystem.

Out-of-Bounds Areas

The Saskatoon Public Schools’ 60-acre parcel of land is the base site for secondary level teachers and students. The adjoining Salvation Army Beaver Creek Camp may be accessed if coordinated beforehand with the Brightwater Project Leader. Marked fence lines between the two properties do not exist; therefore, individual and group in-services are provided to familiarize teachers with the area, programming and facilities.

The First Nations Inuit and Métis Education Unit (FNIMU) has established ceremonial grounds within the lower homestead of the site. To honour ceremonial protocols, the FNIMU requests that all visitors refrain from entering the ceremonial grounds unless prior arrangements have been made.

Visitors are asked to be aware that the adjacent private property south of the area belongs to the Department of National Defence (Dundurn Military Base). This fence line should not be crossed.

Movement and Behaviour Onsite

Experiences in the outdoor classroom are extremely beneficial and rewarding to students and teachers. They can, however, pose some challenges if a group has not been well prepared academically, physically and emotionally for some of the special requirements of learning in the natural environment. Before your visit, please provide students with pre-visit learning experiences, a list and explanation of onsite activities and guidelines, a field notebook to record information, data and post-visit activities, and include an agenda for the day.

The collection and removal of live or dead specimens from the site is not permitted. Plant and animal identification field guidebooks, as well as samples of many of the native plants are available through the Brightwater project leader.

Much research and effort has been put into establishing trails throughout the sites that reduce the impact of human traffic on the native landscape. Please remain on the trails and minimize off trail movements whenever possible. Ask students to spread out to prevent creating human trails when taking your group into open expanses of prairie. Follow deer wild game trails along hillsides and wooded areas if a designated trail does not exist.

There are no garbage cans or caretaking services onsite. Therefore, it is expected that all food and garbage brought in by groups will also be brought out, including recyclables. The schoolhouse is a classroom, so eating lunches should occur at the outdoor picnic tables provided unless there is inclement weather. Please strive to leave the site better than you found it.

The native prairie is adapted to a semi-arid climate and is extremely flammable. Smoking is not permitted. 

Be aware of your surroundings and use quiet voices and slow movements to help minimize human disturbances to wildlife and native plants.

Guest speakers are welcome at Brightwater. Please notify the Brightwater project leader if a speaker is a part of your plan for a visit.

Transportation and Parking

Bussing is the safest means of transporting a classroom of students to Brightwater. Students are dropped off and picked up at the gate. They then hike down to the homestead site and back up to the gate at the end of their visit. Parking is limited to emergency vehicles in the homestead site and space is available for only a few vehicles. An emergency vehicle is recommended if Brightwater staff are either not on site or are onsite but without a vehicle.

Washroom Facilities

The current washrooms are housed in an unheated solar composting straw bale facility. There are three toilet stalls: one for liquid waste only, a solar composting toilet and a composting unit. Only biodegradable human waste is to enter the toilets. All plastics and paper products, including toilet paper are to be placed in the garbage receptacles provided in each stall. Brightwater staff will dispose of this garbage. Toilet paper rolls should be returned to the mouse-proof containers and the toilet lids closed after use. In the spring and fall, the liquid waste toilet should be flushed with water from the jug provided in the stall. Before leaving, assign a student to sweep out, check over and securely close the door to the loo.

There is a washroom facility attached to the ceremonial grounds garage that is available for use if prearranged with the Brightwater project leader. The washrooms are heated, have flush toilets and water that is not for drinking.

Field Equipment

The majority of Brightwater field equipment is stored on the Salvation Army site. Refer to the field equipment list and book the required equipment well before your visit with the Brightwater project leader. There are sustainability of ecosystems and ecology resource backpacks for use by teachers onsite and available for sign-out prior to your visit.

First Aid and Emergency Procedures

All groups are responsible for supplying their own first aid kit and a first aid trained supervisor when visiting either the Saskatoon Public Schools or Salvation Army site. An AED is located in the Brightwater office on the Salvation Army site. Review and adhere to the Saskatoon Public Schools student travel guidelines and Brightwater safety plan to help ensure a safe field trip for you and your students. Students should also be informed of the procedures to be followed in case of an emergency.

Suggestions for Teaching and Learning in the Outdoors

Program delivery is more effective with smaller groups. Divide your students into smaller field study groups of four or five before arriving, then combine and re-combine groups as necessary. Consider rotating the smaller groups through different activities over the course of the day. With each group, develop a focus for their inquiry while onsite and have them prepare questions for the facilitator.

Prepare your students for a field trip in the outdoors. Inclement weather can develop quickly. Spring and fall student gear should include a backpack, field notebook, raincoat, sweater, long pants, hat, gloves, lunch, snacks, juice box, water bottle, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Winter student gear should include a backpack, field notebook, winter coat, warm layers, snow pants, toque, gloves, mitts, scarf, lunch, snacks, juice box and thermos with a warm drink, water bottle and eye protection.