One of the great experiences I’ve had in Switzerland was to introduce a class of students from the CEP School (Le Centre éducatif et pédagogique) to Nature and Wildlife Photography. The motivation for this was brought forward by a young student from this class. She had asked me to make her a slideshow of Quebec’s birds to the tune of her favorite Rihanna song. The slideshow is in French as the CEP, a school for children with special needs is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (Suisse Romande) in the medieval city of Estavayer-le-lac on Neuchâtel Lake.
Here’s the slideshow – Music Copyright Rihanna – Only Girl (In The World)
The slideshow was shared in the classroom with her teacher and classmates. From there grew the idea that I should do a presentation in her class. The school had a program where parents were invited to the classroom in order to share their work skills and talk about their profession. I automatically jumped on the occasion for a chance to bring nature and photography to the classroom.
It was the first time I’d ever made a presentation targeted to pre-teen children. I must admit it was a little long for them but they were valiant and stayed attentive throughout the slideshow, videos and the question period. I was really happy that the subject matter, nature, had held their interest.
We ended the presentation with a group HAKA picture session. It would appear they had a little a bit of fun participating in the HAKA, not excluding the teacher, Miss Joss 🙂
That wasn’t the end of it. As Friday rolled around a field trip had been planned and we headed out to the Pro Natura Center of Champ-Pittet. Located at the South end of the Grande Cariçaie in Yverdon, the Pro Natura Centre offers a variety of wildlife environments. You can observe forest dwelling animals but the heart attraction are the decks along the marshes of the Grande Cariçaie, a nature preserve along Lake Neuchâtel. The site offers an observation tower giving you a great view over the marsh area and a hide-out to observe water birds at water level.
Steve Troletti @ Pro Natura (Grande Cariçaie) with the CEP Students
The students weren’t empty handed. With the help of the teacher, we acquired two cases of cameras from the Canton of Fribourg School Board. Each student had a camera in hand to capture their observations.
Observation Tower @ Champ-pittet Pro Natura Center – Switzerland
A final stop was made at the Port of Cheyres, a small commune on Lake Neuchâtel. There again the Grande Cariçaie continues. Here the students had a chance encounter with a family of Mute Swans, Eurasian Coots, Red-crested Pochards and a variety of other creatures. The day ended with a group picture by Neuchâtel lake.
Port of Cheyres along the Grande Cariçaie
Below is the Thank-you Book the students handed me days following the field trip. It was a heart-warming experience where everyone had a great time, including myself. I hope they’re all doing great.
The whole experience came to a close with a great end of year BBQ hosted by the staff of the CEP
LA GRANDE CARICAIE – Pro Natura Centre Champ-Pittet
PORT OF CHEYRES