Delta teens brought together by mutual love for teaching and Burns Bog

Two Delta teens discover mutual interests and shared history while working as co-lead councillors at a local summer day camp.

Brianne Northcott (L) training with counsellors Thomas Proulx and Sophie Burk and Burns Bog Conservation Society education and research assistant Evelyne Young.

Life’s full of little coincidences.

Take Tegan Servai and Breanne Northcott for example. Both were enrolled in the French immersion program at Burnsview Secondary School, albeit a year apart. They both currently attend UBC and are working toward becoming teachers. They share a love for the environment and a personal connection to Burns Bog.

Yet despite all they have in common, they might not have met were it not for the Burns Bog Conservation Society’s summer day camps. Their shared history with the bog and passion for teaching brought these two strangers together as co-lead councillors for this year’s program.

“We both have lived here all our lives,” Servai said. “For me, I always knew about Burns Bog; In elementary school we used to go there once in awhile. The bog’s important as an ecosystem and it’s important to me as an individual.”

“I also live right near the bog,” added Northcott. “My family would go walk in the bog and stuff like that and I have memories of doing bog tours as a kid in.”

This week marks the beginning of the society’s summer day camps. Each week-long camp is built around a central theme that aims to teach kids about nature and the environment.

Programming includes daily activities such as crafts, experiments, demonstrations, games, and team- building activities as well as special guest presentations and speakers who may also visit and bring along live animals, touchable displays, and fun activities to help reinforce the different themes.

“I think a big part of it is just trying to get kids connected to nature, especially because there’s so much technology now,” Northcott said. “I think people are realizing now how important it is to kind of instil a love of nature and the environment in their kids and this is a really good way to do that.”

Servai said part of the the camps’ appeal is that it forces kids to unplug and learn without relying on computers or Google.

“With most summer camps these days kids can still have some form of technology or use technology to help them learn,” Servai said. “I think that’s helpful, but once in awhile it’s just nice to try and disconnect. The Delta Nature Reserve doesn’t have any electricity, so I feel like it just allows the kids to embrace nature, go with it and connect with it.”

For Northcott, being outdoors helps ensure the lessons they teach will stay with campers for a long time to come, something she hopes to one day incorporate into her own classroom.

“I think the biggest thing about camps like this is being able to be outside and be experiencing the things you’re learning about,” Northcott said. “Actually being in it makes it so much more real and it really helps the kids remember it. I still remember random facts about Burns Bog from when I was a kid cause when you’re out there experiencing it it’s just so much more relevant.”