North Saskatchewan.Students learn land management from a drone perspective

Île-à-la-Crosse students are becoming experts in combining high-tech classroom education with onshore learning and ecological responsibilities.

Serving 157 students, the high school boasts an award-winning robotics team, a year-round greenhouse for growing crops, a wilderness learning site, and a school building with all classrooms overlooking La cÎle-à-la-Crosse. increase.

This year, students and staff are exploring new perspectives in the community by learning to fly drones. Gather images and data to get a better understanding of the surrounding land.

On Saturday morning, the students enthusiastically jumped into the air and piloted a small drone around the school’s gymnasium’s obstacle course.

Eighth grade Kaden Laliberte said he had a “very fun” time practicing his skills, but can’t wait to get the drone out and see what it can do. It was.

“I want to move the drone as high as possible to see if I can see anything in the bush like an animal,” he said.

Seventh grade Martha McGonigle said he was looking forward to learning more about 3D mapping (building models of the entire community from buildings, parks and even aerial photography) and was “especially excited about drone racing.” rice field.

Fellow 7th grade Brad Gardiner said he was already thinking about future career opportunities.

“I’m only 12 years old,” he said. “I want to get a basic license when I’m 14 years old.”

It will allow him to fly larger drones in uncontrolled airspace.

Ted Fret, who heads the school’s track and field learning program, said he was particularly excited to incorporate drones into the field.

“I wanted to draw the kids into something like this and be able to use it in the bushes,” Fret said. “I like to find the ancient paths that people around here used in front of the road. That’s great. Sometimes I find them on Google Earth, but I can hardly see them. Right there. I would like to go and start mapping sensitive areas. “

According to Fret, the bird’s-eye view provided by the drone also helps students understand “how animals and trees interact and need each other.”

Students can study how climate change is changing waterways, see the impact of local industries on the landscape, and track vulnerable animal populations. This can be especially important for studying and protecting local caribou herds that have said frets have been declining for years.

“We rely on these animals,” he said. “Many people still live away from the land, and it’s a big part of our culture and our history, so it’s really important for us to take care of animals and the environment.

“That is, that is our identity here as people in Île-à-la-Crosse and the surrounding area.”

During the weekend, Matthew Johnson, Vice President of Education and Agricultural Programming at Volatus Aerospace, was at Île-à-la-Crosse to lead a drone camp for students.

Drones are almost everything from mapping schools and calculating building volume in math lessons to trying out new photography angles in art and discussing the legal and ethical use of drones in English. He said it would help teach the subject.

“It’s great to work with students,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun to see how they get involved in technology, and learn pilot skills, communication, safety, regulation, photography and video recording.”

In other parts of North America, Volatus Aerospace used drones to identify sick trees in local parks and find the best route to pick up trash along waterways.

Brenda Green, director of education, said he was eager to see such a project materialized in Île-à-la-Crosse.

While she watches students practice with a drone on Saturday morning, she and Johnson are already about young pilots flying over the banks of school solar panels to see if there are any cracks or damage. I was talking.

She said this is an opportunity for the school sector to embrace traditional knowledge and new technology at the same time.

“These are not in conflict with each other,” she said. “It’s a matter of engaging them and finding an opportunity to put them together.

“When we look at the world in different ways, I think you create a perspective of wonder, respect and values.

“I’m not saying that I can recreate what I’ve been up to, but I have the opportunity to imagine something I’ve never thought of before.”

Julia Peterson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Star Phoenix

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