Vancouver Community College: The great outdoors

The great outdoors

Forget beakers and lab coats. There’s nothing quite like the sights, smells and sounds of the great outdoors.

With so much ecological diversity right in Vancouver’s backyard, it’s no wonder a key element of Vancouver Community College’s science curriculum takes students out of the classrooms and to places like Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park, Jericho Marsh, and Richmond Nature Park.

“Getting students into the wild spaces around Vancouver is critical to their understanding of ecology,” says VCC biology, math, and chemistry instructor Michele Mackenzie. “It’s better than memorizing details from a textbook.”

VCC offers a range of science courses that can transfer to university or for academic upgrading and basic education.

“We ask students to open their eyes and hope they’ll notice things they didn’t think to before,” Mackenzie adds, “like birds, plants, forest growth, and habitat.” She recalls during one field trip a group saw a sandhill crane for the first time; a bird about four feet tall.

What students say:

“Field trips are important because we get to see and touch things we’re studying in class.”

“It’s more educational than anything I can learn in the classroom.”

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