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The committee of the Discovery Nature Sanctuary (DNS) in Winkler is working hard to grow awareness of the environmental gem and ultimately would love to see hundreds of students visit the site each year.

Already meeting with principals and the past superintendent of the Garden Valley School Division (GVSD) last year, Committee Chair Paul Goosen met with division board last week to "reveal the resource" to them.

The presentation was meant to bring awareness about the incredible resource opportunity they have in their own backyard. "The beauty of this place, is it's so close to all of their schools within the division," says Goosen.

Goosen says environmental education is such an important facet that many students need to know and need to learn about. "It has implications for daily life, it has implications for the government, it has implications for their jobs, there's just a lot of benefits."

Goosen adds he's hoping the DNS will be a key component in the education within the Garden Valley School Division. "It's such a tremendous, accessible resource where teachers cannot only do science, but they can do arts or photography and history . . . there's just so many subjects you could work off of a site like this."

For the kids, Goosen says, "it's one thing to sit in a desk and learn the theory, but to actually go out into the environment and see what you have learned in the classroom actually taking place in real life is huge."

Looking to the future, Goosen says the committee would love to see a water festival at the sanctuary, which would be similar and modelled after the one at the Binney Corner Nature Preserve west of Manitou. Goosen says each year hundreds of kids attend the Binney festival and learn about water quality, soil, and aquatic insects, and overall get a deeper appreciation for the water cycle and its importance in the environment.

"I'm hoping that in the future this will be a chance for many kids to explore subjects that they're very interested in, and perhaps urge them on to do careers in science or some other facet that will satisfy them and just encourage their passions."

Goosen says they're hoping that in time, in collaboration with the City of Winkler and GVSD, that they'll be able to make a great program for kids in the division, and kids in other divisions as well.

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