Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff Father Henri Voisin School students, (from left to right) Paige Funnell, Hailey Brilz and Dacey Nesseth, show their project model for the Michael O’Brien Wetland.

WATCH: Red Deer Catholic students re-envision a local wetland for school project

Father Henri Voisin Grade 3 teacher introduces ‘real-life’-based education

A group of Grade 3 students from Red Deer’s Father Henri Voisin School re-imagined a local wetland from a nine-year-old perspective.

They built Popsicle-stick models of floating docks, zip-lines, suspension bridges and playgrounds — lots and lots of playgrounds.

A row of student projects were exhibited Friday afternoon at the very park they were reinterpreting for a school project — the Michael O’Brien Wetland, east of the Red Deer Cemetery.

Teacher Cody Huseby said the goal of the outdoor education lesson was to introduce some “real-life”-based learning.

He focused his students’ attention on the quiet, scenic pedestrian park on 55th Street. Everyone knows about Bower Ponds, but this “hidden gem” could use more publicity, said Huseby who challenged his young students to think of ways to draw more people to the green space.

Alex Fox, Branek Ferguson and Tayten Dube built an immaculate model of a double-decker boat dock they envisioned floating on a pond. The students figured they could build it with a $70,000 business loan.

Huseby marvelled over their craftsmanship.

Students Paige Funnell, Haily Brilz and Dacey Nesseth created an elaborate playground model, complete with zip-line, soccer field, climbing bars and an outhouse — detailed, right down to the contents of the toilet.

The girls said they had a lot of fun working together, imagining the park features they would most like to see.

Their classmates, Ethan LaFrance, Nimo Pitos and James Hallam, put out a welcome sign on their park model, which included a suspension bridge and a Popsicle-stick figure walking a cardboard dog on a leash.

“He’s looking at the park and saying, ‘This park is so good!’ ” said Hallam.

Huseby’s Catholic district students learned about creating blueprints, a business plan, and about money transactions — as well as about the importance of wetlands to the ecosystem.

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