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Sales of BC Parks licence plates support outdoor education

Elementary-age students on a field in a BC park.
The GO Grants Program provides funding for school field trips to provincial parks, and other natural areas, so students can learn about B.C.’s fish and wildlife habitats. — Photo courtesy Government of BC/Flickr

To get more students out of the classroom and into the great outdoors, BC Parks is contributing $30,000 from the sales of specialty licence plates to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation’s (HCTF) GO Grants Program.

“By supporting the GO Grants Program, we are giving youth a chance to experience nature and gain a unique learning experience in some of the most beautiful provincial parks B.C. has to offer,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We hope a new generation of young people will form a lifelong attachment to our province’s diverse and rich natural environment.”

The GO Grants Program provides funding for school field trips to provincial parks, and other natural areas, so students can learn about B.C.’s fish and wildlife habitats, as well as biodiversity, while fostering an appreciation for the environment. The trips give youth a chance to spend time outdoors and participate in hands-on learning activities, such as beach seining, releasing salmon fry and nature scavenger hunts, as well as plant and animal identification.

Last year, licence plate funding supported outdoor learning in provincial parks for more than 700 students. Up to 2,500 students are anticipated to go on field trips this year, as demand for the program is at an all-time high.

“We want every student in B.C. to have the opportunity to experience first-hand the incredible diversity of animals and plants that are part of their communities,” said Ken Ashley, HCTF education committee member. “BC Parks’ contribution will enable an additional 2,100 students to participate this year. Connecting kids to nature helps build a conservation ethic that is critical to protecting B.C.’s biodiversity for future generations.”

The B.C. government is reinvesting all net proceeds from the sale and ongoing renewals of BC Parks licence plates back into provincial parks, to ensure action is taken to protect the environment and achieve conservation goals.

The GO Grants Program is the second in a series of projects, funded through the licence plate program. More will be unveiled in the coming year.

In April, the BC Parks Student Ranger Program was established, with proceeds generated from speciality licence plate sales. The program offers 48 young adults hands-on work experience in a diverse range of projects related to conservation, recreation, community outreach and Indigenous relations.

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