A new education program will help students learn about conservation through a famous Canadian’s artwork.

This November, the Robert Bateman Centre will launch a student education program that will bring together two of the Canadian painter’s great loves — art and wildlife.

“Robert feels that if we know nature and hold nature in a special place in our hearts, then we’ll make better, environmentally-friendly choices,” says Aimee Ippersiel, managing director of the Robert Bateman Centre.

While the gallery has offered a series of programs in the past to people of different ages and interest levels, Ippersiel says this new educational program will be geared at elementary students and will build environmental awareness. “The idea is that kids will have an experience in the gallery and then a complementary experience out in nature.”

There are also interactive elements at the gallery that allow visitors to learn more about the collection that spans seven decades of Bateman’s work, including many portraits and wildlife paintings.

In the bird gallery, visitors can wave a hand in front of a label next to the painting to hear what the bird in the picture sounds like. There are also QR Codes on labels beside the paintings, which take visitors to an audio or video clip of Bateman speaking about the artwork.

“In his videos, he talks about the ecosystem, or some natural history or human history elements in the painting,” Ippersiel says, adding that Bateman also discusses his process for making the artwork.

“We’re hoping that visitors realize that nature is magic, that it is a very special place with endless complexity, and that having a profound relationship with nature helps us on an individual level to be healthier, happier people.”