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‘They should be proud of themselves’: Young Fernie students raise money for Wildsight

The IDES students were inspired to protect local forests
A Grade 3-4 class from École Isabella Dicken Elementary School raised $513.55 for Wildsight Elk Valley after being saddened by some local forest being torn down. They presented the money to Wildsight on Dec. 15, 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

A group of elementary school students in Fernie have donated money to Wildsight with the intention of protecting local forests.

On Thursday (Dec. 15), Grade 3 and 4 students from École Isabella Dicken Elementary School presented $513.55 to Myriam Bourdeau-Potvin and Dawn Deydey of Wildsight Elk Valley.

Jesse Bell, teacher of the 24 students, said they raised the money during a bake sale at Save-On-Foods on Tuesday (Dec. 13).

“They all worked super hard, their parents helped us bake, which is a huge appreciation,” she said, adding a big thank you to Save-On-Foods for hosting them.

Henry Baker-Pronger, Grade 3, said most people made desserts to raise the money.

“It was pretty fun. It was kind of cold when we went outside to advertise though,” Baker-Pronger said.

He said it makes them feel really good to give money to a good cause.

Explaining the inspiration behind the fundraiser, Bell said they go outside every Thursday for ‘Wild Outside’ afternoons, and ‘just love it.’

“We visit the forest weekly to build stronger connections to nature and the outdoors, and believe in conserving wild spaces for future generations,” she said in a later email to The Free Press.

Bell said a spot where students used to go play had been torn down (she noted it was on private property). She said they were feeling pretty hurt and sad about that.

Gus Semchuck, Grade 3, said “We want to raise money for Wildsight because we didn’t want anyone else to feel the way we felt when we watched one of our forests get torn down.”

A few more kids, all in Grade 3, spoke about the cause before handing the money to Wildsight.

Talia Olver, said “We want to save the earth so that it can live longer.”

Scarlett Barron, said “We didn’t want people, when they go to the forest, we didn’t want people to feel the same way that we did when our forest got cut.”

Pippa Barron, said “So we can save animals’ homes.”

After hearing the kids’ reasons, Bourdeau-Potvin said they were all very noble causes and thanked them for the fundraiser. She said the money will probably be put into Wildsight’s educational programs.

“This is a great honour for us,” she said.

“We do a lot of work as well in the educational field for young kids like you to get to appreciate nature, and so it’s really, really heart-warming to see that all of you guys are going out there, enjoying the forest, like it should be,” she said.

“You will be the future protectors of these forests. So, thank you for working with us, this is amazing. This is the beginning of a great partnership, I think.”

Deydey also thanked the kids and spoke about the importance of small choices that can make a big difference.

Bell said the initiative was a collective effort of the whole class, and that they wanted to give back.

“It was really awesome, and I’m super proud of them,” she said.

“They should be proud of themselves.”

READ MORE: Fernie Secondary School students plant hundreds of trees for conservation

READ MORE: ‘Strengthening our food system’: Wildsight bringing hydroponic container farm to Fernie


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