Outdoor Education in Action

Posted On Thursday April 28, 2022

A District gem is celebrating a major milestone this year.

Since its inception 50 years ago, the McQueen Lake Environmental Education Centre has been dedicated to providing residential and day programs in environmental education to children, parents, teachers, and the public. Since its official opening in 1972, approximately 200,000 visitors have benefited from the programs offered.

The Centre’s specialized curriculum allows students to engage in activities that improve student attention, helps develop a sense of independence and promotes real-world, problem-solving, as well as a engrains deeper respect for the environment, said McQueen Lake principal Frank Law at a recent Regular Board of Education meeting.

Based in research, “outdoor education can have a really powerful impact on our students,” said Law.

To ensure the Centre continues to run smoothly and in commemoration of its 50-year anniversary, facility upgrades and inspections have been completed with more to come.

Having previously operated on propane lighting, the facility was recently upgraded to LED electricity in the classroom and new heaters in the teacher cabin. A new lithium battery power system was also installed which has equated to a longer warranty period and a more environmentally friendly operation.

In an effort to promote inclusivity and safety, modifications were also done to the challenge area.

Upcoming projects include securing an updated permit to operate food services and use of the onsite kitchen. Over the next several years, additional upgrades and renovations will be completed with the help of Thompson Rivers University’s Trades Department.

Future plans also include an Indigenous Cultural Centre in consultation with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Culture and Heritage Department with financial assistance from the Rotary Club of Kamloops.

Each year, almost 7,000 students and parents visit McQueen Lake to participate in outdoor and environmental programs to meet the educational goals of the students, teachers, and parents. The Centre provides the opportunity for guests to learn about the environment through hands-on experiential activities that are not available in the regular classroom setting.

“We are so fortunate to have a site dedicated to outdoor learning,” said Law, who attributes the impact the Centre has had on students to McQueen Lake teacher Wayne Deptuck and Caretaker Dan Sargent, among many others.

“It’s special because so many people from the community have visited up there,” said Law. “So many children have gone through the McQueen Lake site. Teachers really drive the McQueen Lake program and the Maintenance Department takes care of everything.”

Contact Us