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Campus Life  

Women in Trades students help house winged wildlife

Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College Women in Trades Training (WITT) students joined forces with Elementary students to help house some of the busiest builders in the community who work around the clock, day and night.

WITT at Peter Greer May 2019Grades 4-6 students at Peter Greer Elementary stepped outside of the classroom for a day to learn about the bats and the bees from WITT students. Together they built four bat houses with nurseries, and one large bee pollinator hotel. The residences will be placed in the green space surrounding Peter Greer, helping meet the ecological needs of creatures in risk of endangerment.

“Our Grade 4-6 students have been spending a lot of time outside focusing on ecological literacy,” says Clint Maltais, a teacher at Peter Greer. “The kids are really passionate about animals and wanted to do something that would actually help the environment. We knew we needed help.”

There are great efforts in the Central Okanagan in supporting bee and bat conservation, and the teachers and students at Peter Greer were eager to get the WITT students involved.

“This is a great opportunity for the WITT students to be mentors, and to apply what they’ve learned so far in the program,” says Nancy Darling. “It’s empowering for these women to share their skills and build confidence that they can take those skills forward into the workplace.”Bat and Bee House

This isn’t the first time that Okanagan College’s Trades and Apprenticeship department has supported the community and mentored youth along the way: they built the bunny hutches at Warren Peace, and they’re currently building locker rooms for the OC Coyotes basketball teams.

“The community has supported our program since inception,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “Returning that favor and playing a prominent role in our community is important to us.”

Amanda Gilbank is one of the WITT students who helped.

“The kids were all amazing to work with and eager to learn,” says Gilbank. “It’s great to be able to teach them to build something that is helping the environment and then watching how proud they become when they see what they’ve built.”

There were lots of happy faces and enthusiastic learners, some of whom are already thinking about a future in Trades.

“I really liked having the chance to saw and hammer away at something,” says
Grade 4 student Ryder Atherton. “I want to go to Okanagan College one day…maybe become a mechanic or something.”

WITT offers a Gateway to the Building Trades for Women program that allows women to explore each skilled trade before deciding which is the best fit for them.

For more information visit: okanagan.bc.ca/witt
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