(PQB News file photo)

(PQB News file photo)

School District 69 (Qualicum) trustees pass motion in support of international field trip for 2022

Journey will include stops in London, Paris, Barcelona and Rome

The School District 69 (Qualicum) board of education is looking for a balance between an international field trip planned for next year, and its potential environmental impacts.

Approximately a year and a half ago, SD69 held a community discussion on the environmental impacts caused by out-of-province and international field trips involving air travel, with students, parents and teachers weighing in.

In October 2019, the district’s school board voted against a controversial motion introduced by trustee Barry Kurland to oppose such field trips. Instead, the board assembled a climate action committee which would make recommendations on how the school district could reduce its ecological footprint.

At the most recent board meeting, held on Tuesday, May 25, a motion introduced by trustee Laura Godfrey was favourably passed for the board’s final approval of an international field trip in March 2022 for Ballenas Secondary School students.

A Ballenas school counsellor, Shannon Confortin, also wrote a letter to the board in support of the field trip. The field trip, planned for spring break next year, will include stops in London, Paris, Barcelona and Rome, with one teacher chaperone for every six students, as well as an Education First (EF) tour director.

READ MORE: Qualicum school board votes against motion of non-support for field trips requiring air travel

“In addition to their commitment to providing safe educational experiences for students, EF is committed to reducing their environmental impact. They will be voluntarily offsetting all of their global carbon emissions through their Hello Zero program,” wrote Confortin.

As per their website, Education First is an international education company that specializes in language training, educational travel, academic degree programs and cultural exchange.

During the May 25 meeting, board trustee Elaine Young said she believes that while the field trip has incredible educational value, the newly adopted field trip policy does dictate the learning experience must also include the climate impacts of the field trip itself.

“I want the discussion to happen with the students. It’s their Earth that they’re going to inherit from those of us who have messed it up royally. And I want them to really have that ethical discussion,” said Young.

Vice-chair Julie Austin said that while having these conversations may be difficult, they are also necessary and will likely be ongoing.

“I’m concerned that through EF tours, their carbon offset program, I feel, is being built on the back of privilege. There are a bunch of people in a Third World country planting trees so that we can fly around the globe… We’re not sort of taking that responsibility ourselves,” she said.

She also raised concerns regarding the cultural experience in a ‘whirlwind’ trip to Europe, and that while the trip duration is 12 days, students would only be spending approximately two days in each city.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Parksvillequalicum beachSD69

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read