Strategy for an ecosystem approach to education
The following vision, mission and goal are excerpted from the Stream to Sea strategy that guides DFO's Ecosystem Management Branch "Stream to Sea" education program.
Our goal is to help students become aquatic stewards.
- know many organisms in their watershed, how they function and how they are connected to each other;
- know their place in, and effects on, the freshwater and marine ecosystems of their watershed;
- feel respect for their fragile and interconnected aquatic ecosystem;
- feel empowered to make positive contributions to their aquatic ecosystem;
- make daily choices, individually and collectively, that minimize environmental impacts to aquatic environments;
- feel responsibility for the health of their environment; and
- share their knowledge, actions, and feelings about aquatic ecosystems with their community.
The following key concepts will drive the development of learning resources and activities as well as the adaptation of existing learning resources. These key concepts, which reflect our common vision, were derived from suggestions provided by participants at an Education Coordinators meeting.
- Each aquatic ecosystem consists of wondrous and unique species and a complex set of interactions amongst them. The connections are subtle and intricate. Any change, (e.g. the introduction of an alien species), will affect a larger part of the ecosystem. The hydrological cycle connects all of the aquatic ecosystems on earth.
- Humans are part of ecosystems: we live in them and use them for supporting our spiritual, social and cultural health (e.g. traditionally, aboriginal people fish to feed themselves and for social and ceremonial purposes). Acting sustainably means doing the least amount of harm and balancing our environmental, economic, social, and cultural needs with the needs of other parts of the ecosystem.
- Our daily choices affect oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams everywhere; that is why we need to consider the consequences of our actions. As stewards we can act individually and co-operatively and conserve, protect, and restore our aquatic ecosystems, all the while educating about the benefit of these actions for future generations.
We envision Pacific Region students and their educators being well-informed on aquatic ecosystems, motivated by a stewardship ethic and contributing to the health and sustainability of their community.
To integrate the education efforts of Areas and Region (Oceans, Habitat and Enhancement Branch) so that students and their educators will have the learning resources, hands-on activities, and DFO staff support required to feel connected to aquatic ecosystems and conserve them for future generations.
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