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'22/23 Bullock Lake Farm Field Trips

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

We did amazing things with six classes from Fernwood & Salt Spring Elementary schools at Bullock Lake Farm in 2022/23, building on our pilot year in 2021/22.

These K-3 Field Trips are designed to complement and enhance BC curriculum, inviting students to get their hands dirty as they participate in a full range of food growing, animal husbandry, and land stewardship activities on an organic working farm, highlighting climate resiliency and sustainability best practices through an agricultural lens.

Activities for each of four seasonal field trips are planned around themes of cooking, farm fields & animals, art, Indigenous knowledge and Nature. Each day begins and ends in a circle sharing. At the end of each day each student reflects what they enjoyed and learned. Farm snacks are provided mid-morning, and games are led in the meadow after lunch. Teachers stay with their classes to participate in learning so they can take it back to the classroom.

For our final June 2023 field trips, we asked students to reflect on and draw some of the seasonal changes here on the farm, in the natural world around them. Here's a summary of what we experienced over four seasons in 2022/23 with some of their illustrations included.

Autumn (late October):

  • Nature: Learned native plants growing in the hedgerows and made leaf rubbings, plus nature scavenger hunt.

  • Farm Fields: Picked apples and harvested basil, as well as painted corn (Indigenous). Toured the farm fields and children's farm area. We made dried flower arrangements to take home.

  • Cooking: Made applesauce, pesto, and warm apple cider (depending on the day)

  • Animals: Visited farm livestock (chickens, goats, pigs, and sheep), learned about their life cycles and needs, and how to be gentle and respectful with animals.

Winter (March):

  • Cooking: ground dried corn that was harvested in the autumn, and baked muffins.

  • Indigenous: WSANEC Elder, Carl Olsen visited with drum and helped Robin teach the 13 moons of the Saanich Calendar, with associated native species at risk, around the campfire.

  • Farm Fields: Made soil blocks and planted spring seeds (peas, kales, lettuce). Older students learned how to propagate perennials from cuttings, with a focus on native species.

  • Animals: visited new baby pigs and the goat pen. Learned about Mason Bees and made nesting tubes into fallen logs and stumps with a drill.

Spring (May):

  • Cooking: Bigleaf maple-flower pancakes with maple syrup; rhubarb compote on pancakes with whipped cream (depending on the day).

  • Animals: Visited new baby goats, growing pigs, and chickens. Started to learn basic native bird identification.

  • Farm Fields: Three-sisters plus brother sunflower stories and planting (Indigenous). Learned about mushroom mycelia and spread inoculated King Stropharia woodchips around garden and planted potatoes.

  • Nature: Native plant identification and paintings on cedar planks, using Strong Nations plant ID cards with SENCOTEN & Hul’q’umi’num names. Removed invasive English ivy and Scotch broom and planted native trees in forest.

Summer (June): Grande Finale!

  • Cooking: Learned about yeast. Assembled pizzas for the cob oven for lunch!

  • Farm Fields: Planted corn seedlings, weeded and prepared beds for corn.

  • Animals: Visited goats (pigs gone) and sheep.

  • Nature: Listened for birdsong and identified some of the calls on a native bird worksheet.

  • Reflection/Evaluation: Remembered the previous seasons’ field trips together and drew favourite activities and things they learned.

  • Field Games!!! Led by 3rd-graders, Buddy and Phil, the kids had a blast running and playing in the big open meadow overlooking Bullock Lake.

Thank you!

Each of these field trips is mentored by farmers Zack Hemstreet and Molly Wilson, environmental education instructor Robin Jenkinson, horticulturist Lisa Duttman, local chefs and educators, and many parents.

Big thanks to the funders: Salt Spring Island Foundation, HCTF WildBC Education, Vancity, and TD Friends of the Environment for making these field trips possible!

Teacher Testimonials

“All three field trips combined fun, movement, and meaningful, hands-on learning activities,

making a tremendously positive impact on the children's learning. After each trip, my students were making new connections between the farm activities and science activities done in the classroom/school gardens, all while showing greater observational skills, interest, and understanding. The farm visits also provided us with so many shared experiences and memories upon which we could base further numeracy, literacy and fine arts lessons. All content fit very well into the K curriculum and was delivered by enthusiastic, knowledgeable farm hosts, all of whom had a lovely way of communicating with young children.” - Kari Holmes, Kindergarten Teacher, Salt Spring Elementary


“The first farm field trip introduced children to some new and vintage farming techniques and technologies, while giving opportunities to use all of their senses in an outdoor environment. Especially fun for the kids was having the chance to work together using an antique apple press, then tasting the sweet, fresh juice they helped to make.

This field trip connected to several curriculum areas including Science, Language Arts (oral and written), Social Studies (community connections), Physical Education, and Career and Health Education. In fact, since this trip a few children have said they want to be farmers when they grow up. The day was an impressive team effort that included a significant number of volunteer helpers.

There were lots of smiles and cheeks filled with veggies picked fresh from the farm plots. We look forward to returning in the spring to see how much the garlic bulbs the children planted will have grown!” - Janisse Browning, Grades 2-3 Teacher, Salt Spring Elementary

Now, we're seeking additional funding to continue to expand and include more children in 2023/24!


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