WorldWideFuture Weblog

the future of education, politics, science and art

Students become citizens of the future

There is nothing more important to a student’s education than learning through hands-on inquiry about the issues they will face as future citizens.

The issues of ecology, climate change, biodiversity, biotechnology and sustainable development will be at the top of the list of importance in the world wide future of today’s, and tomorrow’s citizens. But are these areas represented in the curriculum? For most jurisdictions, I would hazard to guess: superficially.

Students need to work directly on realistic, wonder inspiring projects (WOW projects!) to learn to survive and thrive in tomorrow’s world. One such project is the Macoun Marsh project in a little corner of Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Under the inspired leadership of elementary school teachers Michael Leveille of St. Laurent Academy, and Clint Monahan of Jean Vanier Catholic School, the students of these schools have identified over 1500 species of plants and animals in a project that lead them to win 2nd place in an international competition sponsored by Volvo Adventure. The monies from the award, and from their subsequent funding drive, paid for the construction of an outdoor classroom, built by a couple of our high schools. Other schools built feeders and bird houses, and future plans were drawn up for a boardwalk, benches and other elements.

Through this project. the students from schools all over the city learned about biodiversity, wetland protection, construction skills and project management. These are lessons for life, it will be something these students will be talking about to their grandchildren. Will they remember their math class?

In 2008, the students and teachers of the project officially partnered with the Canadian Biodiversity Institute and to promote and to host the world’s Second Youth Symposium on Biodiversity, in Ottawa in July 2009. As well, the team presented to the United Nations’ Environmental Programme (UNEP) TUNZA in Norway this June 2008. (TUNZA means “to treat with care or affection” in Kiswahili (a sub-regional language of Eastern Africa)
In further news, Clint Monahan has won a 2008 Toyota Prius with his submission to Toyota Canada’s “make things better ” challenge.

The student of today will be the informed citizen (or not) of tomorrow. Our future, our economy, our way of life will be determined by the students who are in our classrooms today. The students of today must be challenged with creating solutions now to prepare them for the world wide future.

Link: The Macoun Marsh Project

Images of the Outdoor Classroom Construction at

July 1, 2008 Posted by | education | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment