Fairfield Park to get new bat houses, thanks to class efforts

Strathcona and Vedder students join forces to improve ecosystem at Chilliwack park

The third graders at Strathcona elementary have taken on a neighbourhood housing crisis of a different kind.

They’re helping to house hundreds of bats.

Their keen interest in the flying mammals helped with the creation of a few new bat houses, which are to be installed at Fairfield Park this month. And they built them in their own classroom, with the help of some big buddies from Vedder middle school.

It all started with the class, led by teacher Leanne Halko, adopting the park’s pond. The park adjoins the school’s playgrounds and fields, and is an important aspect of the neighbourhood surrounding the school. Beyond that, the park is lined by agricultural land and residential housing. The greenspace’s park is home to countless birds, mammals and insects.

The more they learned about the park and its inhabitants, they more they focused in on bats. In December, student Ayden Lunde said one sentence to make a difference.

“We should build some bat houses!” he suggested.

“This is very student-initiated,” Halko says. “It just kind of evolved from his suggestion.”

Justin Moore, a vice principal of curriculum in the Chilliwack school district, connected with the city’s parks department for the go-ahead.

“Not only were they okay with it,” Moore says. “They offered to install as many as we wanted through the park. The kids were very excited.

Ms. Halko’s class joined forces with the woodshop teacher at Vedder middle, Steve Cecchi. His students prefabricated the bat houses over at the middle school, and packaged them into kits.

But the partnership didn’t stop there. About half a dozen Vedder middle students joined the Grade three class in April for a morning of construction. With all the pieces measured and pre-cut in the safety of the shop class, the younger students were shown how fit the wood together, use a hammer and nails, staple gun mesh (for the bats to hang on) to the houses, and finish it all off by drilling a few screws in the top.

The whole project is an example of place-based learning that teachers are adopting in the new B.C. curriculum, says Moore.

“It brings student passions together with peer support and city involvement,” he says. The next step will be an installation date at the park, which the students will be present for.

As for the students, they just know they’re doing something good for the bats and the surrounding ecosystem.

“They’re very much into what they’re doing,” Halko says. “They know we can make a difference, and help our environment.”


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Yong-Seong Choi, a Vedder middle student, helps Grade three students at Strathcona elementary build bat houses. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Portable heaters caused spike in Chilliwack fire calls

Check on heaters to make sure they’re not too close to combustibles, Chilliwack Fire officials say

Federal Green Party reps in Chilliwack ready for their AGM

Deputy Leader Jonina Campbell of the BC Greens will be the keynote speaker on Feb. 27

Sarah Wark and Team B.C. lose to Northern Ontario at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

It was the second straight heartbreaking defeat for Wark after a promising 3-0 start.

Preliminary inquiry starts for Chilliwack woman charged in 2016 fatal hit-and-run

Linnea Labbee, 70, accused in Dec. 1, 2016 incident that killed 78-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian

UPDATE: Chilliwack man arrested for Agassiz break and enters

Westin Ferguson, 19, faces charges relating to break and enters throughout Agassiz

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

UPDATE: Missing snowshoer identified as 39-year-old Surrey man

Search suspend because of bad weather on Mount Seymour

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

Bomb threats, gunfire, kidnapping: Drug war rocks Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP battles a series of violent events

B.C. hotel trashes Channing Tatum in favour of Ryan Reynolds

Tatum’s picture left in recycling bin, replaced with photo of Ryan Reynolds

Most Read