• Mrs. Henderson's Grade 8 class at Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre in Medicine Hat are the winners of the 2018 Canada's Coolest School Trip competition

    Mrs. Henderson's Grade 8 class at Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre in Medicine Hat are the winners of the 2018 Canada's Coolest School Trip competition. (Photo: Susan Guerra, Medicine Hat Public School Division)

A group of students from Medicine Hat, Alta., has won an all-expenses-paid trip to Ontario for their work raising fire safety awareness in Elkwater Provincial Park.

The annual Canada’s Coolest School Trip contest encourages students to get outdoors and learn about Canada’s parks and cultural heritage. This year, Parks Canada, in partnership with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Historica Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and Nature Canada, challenged students to come up with a stewardship project that contributed to the protection of their local environment or a presentation about their local history or culture. Students documented their work through a photo essay and then uploaded it online for public voting. 

Mrs. Henderson’s Grade 8 class from Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre chose to study local wildfire management practices, having been inspired by the devastating wildfire that destroyed nearly a third of Waterton Lakes National Park last fall. Check out their winning photo essay here.

The students went door to door in Elkwater to assess the wildfire risk of cabins in the park. They also learned about wildfire prevention and control from park staff, and participated in a pow wow led by the local First Nation, where Elders shared wisdom about traditional fire control methods.

On their grand prize trip, the class will have a chance to go island-hopping through Thousand Islands National Park, learn about iron work at the Jones Falls Blacksmith Shop on the Rideau Canal, explore Fort Wellington National Historic Site and visit the former home of two prime ministers at Laurier House National Historic Site in Ottawa.