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Getting hands-on for habitat

October 05, 2022 Provincial Saskatchewan
Students from Dr. Martin LeBoldus Catholic High School learn about the importance of wetlands at McKell Wascana Conservation Park.
Students from Dr. Martin LeBoldus Catholic High School learn about the importance of wetlands at McKell Wascana Conservation Park. © DUC

Regina, Sask.—When it comes to conservation education, there’s no better setting than outdoors in nature. Thanks to an exciting new partnership between Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and Dr. Martin LeBoldus Catholic High School, hundreds of Regina students will have the chance to do just that.

DUC and Regina Catholic Schools are pleased to announce the launch of the Regina Wetland Centre of Excellence (WCE), the 27th WCE in Canada and only the second in Saskatchewan. This innovative program will help Regina students become conservation leaders and environmental stewards through hands-on and experiential wetland education.

DUC’s Wetland Centres of Excellence form a national network of schools and community partners where students lead conservation projects and community outreach at their local wetland. Through this novel approach to science education, students practice hands-on conservation techniques and discover what it means to be an active, environmentally responsible citizen. They also learn first-hand the critical functions wetlands perform, including providing habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, mitigating climate change, and filtering upstream water to support cleaner lakes and rivers.

Prior to becoming part of the WCE network, LeBoldus teacher Desmond Hartney had already embraced the idea of using local nature areas and hands-on learning to instruct environmental science concepts. For Hartney and his classes, the 170 acres of grassland and wetland habitats within Regina’s McKell Wascana Conservation Park serve as the perfect outdoor classroom.

A great opportunity for “hands-on experiences”

Hartney is keen to undertake further conservation projects with his students under the WCE partnership. “The WCE program is a great opportunity for our students at LeBoldus to learn about the importance of wetlands in Saskatchewan through hands-on experiences,” he says. “The hope is that through these rich, place-based learning experiences, students will gain an appreciation for these ecosystems and become advocates for conservation.”

This is the sort of transformation that Mariane Bolla, head of DUC’s national education program, has witnessed in WCE students and alumni. “The WCE program really helps empower youth to shape their future. By developing meaningful real-world skills through action projects, teamwork and mentorship activities, these young people gain exposure to conservation practices and careers that prepare them for new and exciting possibilities after graduation.”

The official launch of the Regina Wetland Centre of Excellence took place today at the McKell Wascana Conservation Park.


Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations, Indigenous Peoples and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. To learn more about DUC’s innovative environmental solutions and services, visit


The Regina Catholic School Division provides a quality Catholic education that is faith-based, student-centered, and results oriented. We are blessed to live, learn and work on Treaty 4 Territory, and acknowledge and honour the original keepers of this land. The mission of Regina Catholic Schools is to work with the community and the local church to foster academic excellence and the development of informed, responsible citizens.

Contact Information

Suzanne Joyce
Communications Specialist
Ducks Unlimited Canada | Saskatchewan
Tel: 306-550-2302 | Email:

Twylla West
Communications and Media Coordinator
Regina Catholic Schools
Tel: 306-791-7253 | Email: