By Emma Nikkel | September 5, 2023
This year the Invasive Species Council of BC rolled out a new mobile classroom exhibit – the Play & Protect Mobile! The walk-in educational trailer houses over 10 modern and interactive displays, educational games, and visual storyboards with information and messaging on ISCBC initiatives such as how to Play Clean Go, Clean Drain Dry, Don’t Let It Loose, and Buy Local Burn Local. These easy to implement initiatives encourage people to adopt simple, responsible practices that can have a big impact!
The Play & Protect Mobile has been getting rave reviews.
“I loved the variety of activities that were packed into the trailer and the non-linear way that kids could interact with the stations,” said Mark Gill, Education Program Supervisor for Wild & Immersive Summer Camp, who appreciated the tactile learning opportunity for the children. “Stations where kids had to pick burrs and weeds off of boots, tires, and boat props were my favourites – it was really simple, but also a really big way [to show] that people can help prevent the spread of species.”
Beginning in May, the traveling education station made its way to classrooms and events around the Cariboo, including several elementary schools in Williams Lake. In one day, the Play & Protect Mobile had five classes, with a total of 102 students, from Marie Sharpe Elementary School in Williams Lake. Students participated in activities, such as exploring species under magnifying glasses, and cleaning boots and tires to ensure they are free of invasive species before entering natural areas. School engagement saw a total of 176 students participate in the new exhibit.
In the summer of 2023, through a partnership with Heartland Toyota and their Cars for Good initiative, ISCBC was provided with a hybrid 2023 Toyota Tundra to assist in the Play & Protect Mobile’s tour. The Play & Protect Mobile traveled to Cariboo farmers’ markets and visitor hotspots, engaging guests at the Quesnel Farmers’ Market, Williams Lake Farmers’ Market, South Cariboo Farmers’ Market, Scout Island, and Barkerville Historic Town and Park. These events saw a total of 366 people explore the exhibit’s interactive stations and learn about the best practices to stop the spread of invasive species. Along the way, the Play & Protect Mobile stopped by summer camps including Wild & Immersive Summer Camp and the Williams Lake First Nation Summer Program.
There is still time to catch the Play & Protect Mobile in action! Come find us at the Horsefly Salmon Festival on September 9th and 10th and the 108 Heritage Site Market on September 16th, 2023.
Keep your eyes peeled for more information on how you can book the Play & Protect Mobile for your classroom or event next year, coming soon on our website bcinvasives.ca.
Emma is an Outreach Coordinator at ISCBC in the Cariboo region. She is passionate about community engagement and sharing her love of nature – especially plants! In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, gardening, and exploring new places. You can reach Emma at [email protected].