Located 25 kilometres east of Enderby and situated on ten acres of forest along the Shuswap River, Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society (KICS) has been running outdoor experiential education opportunities for local children and visitors alike for over 30 years.
First West Foundation, through the Enderby Financial Community Endowment has been unwavering in its support, having proudly awarded $46,341 in funding to KICS since 2014. This year, a $10,000 grant was awarded for the Conservation through Education program.
“We are very proud of our relationship with KICS, and the conservation work delivered through their programs,” says Susan Byrom, executive director, First West Foundation. “As we strive to be better stewards of the environment and better understand our communities, the education programs designed by KICS are needed now more than ever.”
Their program, Conservation Through Education, provides educational lessons to school children (grades K-12), and summer visitors focusing on local environmental sustainability, ecosystem support and the salmon lifecycle. Nearly 3,000 students connect with the environment and learn about the wonders it holds through hands-on learning activities.
Addressing the thunderous reality of climate change and our collective human impacts on ecosystems, KICS’ conservation opportunities are key to understanding and environmental restoration.
“The program uses assets of our rural community through a rural experience,” explains Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society executive director, Shona Bruce. “We are building awareness for our precious resource, the Shuswap Watershed, to achieve a sustainable future for generations to come and for all to enjoy, ensuring the watershed is cared for and remains healthy and vibrant.”
Learning stations are tailored for Spring with an interactive watershed demonstration and a forest walk; in the Fall these stations focus on the completion of the salmon life cycle and include an Indigenous lifeways fishing station. Summer is a great time to visit as KICS easily adapts their programs to suit the needs and abilities of the participants. “We want to reconnect kids with nature,” adds Bruce, “and instill a feeling of wellness, excitement and curiosity when surrounded by the natural world. We want to inspire change in thought and behaviour towards our environment, ending ignorance and indifference, and giving future decision makers the ability to make informed decisions.”
Created and operated by local community volunteers, Kingfisher has received high praise for its award-winning conservation and education efforts over the years. Most recently, KICS received national recognition through the “Nature Inspiration Award” presented by the Canadian Museum of Nature for Community Action.