The Wilderness Education Program was initiated in 1996 by Lisa Baile and the late John Clarke (BC’s legendary explorer, mountaineer and wilderness educator) to provide urban youth with the opportunity to experience BC’s wilderness and to develop the next generation of earth stewards. In early 2003, as per the wishes of John Clarke, BC Spaces for Nature adopted the Wilderness Education Program to ensure the continuation of John’s legacy. Today, the WildED Team is made up of dedicated program staff, advisors, educators, and volunteers who are deeply committed to reconnecting young people to wilderness.
To develop WildED as a scalable, replicable, professional program that provides both educational rigour as well as catalytic experiences for young people to not only create awareness, enthusiasm, and curiosity, but to also inspire action and the desire to discover, care for and experience BC’s wilderness first-hand.
- To ensure the next generation of young people see nature, parks and wilderness as fundamental to their identity and the stewardship of wild places as their responsibility
- To facilitate and inspire youth to make a personal connection with nature, parks, and wilderness by experiencing nature first-hand
- To ensure the integrity of the existing park system remains intact and protected
Parks and wilderness are essential to the Canadian persona. If our parks and wilderness legacy is truly to be recognized and passed on to future generations, this next generation of young people must understand the value of wild nature and why and how it needs to be cherished and preserved. WildED takes a unique and original approach to accomplish this, in particular:
- The primary focus is reconnecting youth to wilderness and nature by providing experiential, hands-on programs
- Our educators are professional certified teachers with wildlife and biology backgrounds who are experts in outdoor recreation leadership
- Our advisory steering committee and teacher advisory group is made up of professional teachers, conservationists, business consultants, and outdoors people
- We have alliances and work in collaboration with a broad base of outdoor enthusiasts, teachers, environmental educators, and outdoor schools
- We provide mentorship and follow-up support to foster ongoing learning, action and leadership in youth
"The pictures were amazing...like something you would see out of a
National Geographic magazine, and seeing that you went to those
places was really cool."
Maggie, grade 12
"I really liked the game. I thought it was neat that
we had to name things. I learned a lot - so
much about the environment and animals. I
learned what things to bring and not to bring on
a camping trip. Thank you for teaching me so
Amanda Grade 4
“I wanted to tell you that your presentation was awesome and cool especially all those pictures. The things you have talked to us about are amazing and that’s what changed me to want to save the earth.”
Grade 4 student
Our Track Record
In just nine years WildED has been experienced by over 35,000 students and teachers throughout British Columbia, and has received six awards for excellence in environmental education and community service.
Education and Community Service Awards
- Gold Award for Education received from Burns Bog Conservation Society (2005)
- Roger Hammill Memorial Award for Environmental Education (2004).
- Sanford Award received from the Vancouver Natural History Society for extraordinary achievement in community service (2001)
- British Columbia Minister's Environmental Award received from the BC Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks for excellence in environmental education (1999)
- BC Environmental Education Award received from the Environmental Education Provincial Specialist Association for an outstanding contribution to environmental education in British Columbia schools (1998)
- Eugene Rogers Environmental Award from the United Nations Association, Vancouver Branch, and Western Canada Wilderness Committee (1997)