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GNS: Lost in the Woods

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Grande Cache, a unique community nestled in the Rocky Mountains, is approximately two hours from the town of Hinton and the city of Grande Prairie. This community, located along Highway 40, is surrounded by vast forests and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including grizzly bears, black bears, caribou, deer, and big horn sheep. The setting of this community makes it crucial for its residents to be equipped with essential survival skills, especially when it comes to navigating the wilderness.

On June 10th, Sheldon Coates Elementary School hosted Marissa Stewart of the Grande Cache Tourism and Interpretive Centre, and Nicole Viergutz of the Grande Cache RCMP detachment. The pair instructed the students on how to navigate being lost in the woods. They provided essential survival skills that are theoretical and practical and can be applied in real-life situations. The workshop included a whole school component and a single class hands-on component. During the presentation, students learned how to keep warm in the forest, signal for help, and, most importantly, "hug a tree, " ensuring they do not move around when awaiting rescue.

Following the whole school presentation, classes were invited to an experiential learning component led by Marissa in the forested area that backs onto the school. Students made a “nest” to keep warm in case they were lost overnight and engaged in a hide-and-seek activity wherein seekers learned how to search for lost individuals in a sweep while using their listening and observation skills. Hiders learned how their clothes can camouflage them and how to make sustained noise to be found.
Each student left the presentation with an understanding of what to do in a worst-case scenario and a practical application of these skills. They now have a deeper appreciation of how authorities find lost individuals which can be lifesaving knowledge in such situations.

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