Calgary Stampede’s OH Ranch Education Program

by Sharon Lightfoot, OH Ranch Education Coordinator, October 2014 Stampede Blog

You can learn more about the OH Ranch Education Program at the Calgary Herald, CTV and CBC.

Horsestudents-550x365It’s back to school and back to education on the range! The Calgary Stampede is very excited to announce the launch of the OH Ranch Education Program. The historic OH Ranch, an authentic working cattle ranch, provides an incredible setting for young people to learn about Alberta’s heritage and unique identity.

Gifted to the Calgary Stampede Foundation in 2012, the OH Ranch fulfills the wish of the late Doc “Daryl” Seaman to preserve the land, and our cultural heritage for generations to come. Thanks to the Calgary Stampede Foundation, the Calgary Stampede is making this dream a reality!

As an experienced teacher and an experiencing-as-I-go mother of an 11-year-old daughter, I recognize the importance of providing engaging and relevant learning opportunities that ignite students’ natural curiosity and enthusiasm, and that increase their awareness of, and appreciation for, our land and history. What better place to achieve this than on an 8,000-acre authentic working cattle ranch that exemplifies best practices in cattle ranching and animal care, and is situated in the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains? The OH Ranch is, in my opinion, one of the most spectacular “classrooms” around!

To ensure that our programming supports teachers and students in the delivery and achievement of educational outcomes, I held brainstorming sessions with educators from various local school districts including the Calgary Board of Education, the Calgary Catholic School District and Rocky View Schools. The teachers who participated in these sessions provided some great ideas that have helped me to customize our program to meet their needs. Thank you all!

In June and September 2014, I held four OH Ranch Grade 5 Education Program introductory sessions. Two grade 5 classes from Rocky View Schools and two grade 5 classes from the Calgary Catholic School District were the first to participate in our OH Ranch Education Program. Teachers and students provided valuable feedback on the program that supports Alberta Education’s Grade 5 Social Studies and Science curriculum outcomes for which the OH Ranch, with its cattle, geography, and historic buildings, is a natural fit.

As a long-standing supporter of the Calgary Stampede, animal and nature lover, history aficionado, life-long learner, and licensed Alberta teacher, I am very enthusiastic about designing, developing and delivering, a ranch-based educational program for Calgary and area youth that helps promote an appreciation for our land and heritage. The success of this program relies on the support from the Calgary Stampede Foundation, and the assistance of Calgary Stampede employees and volunteers, and subject matter experts who care as much as I do about the well being of this land, and the cattle, horses and multitude of fauna and flora species that call the OH Ranch home.

I look forward to welcoming you to the OH Ranch! Please check out our webpage at Click on Experience Education to learn all about our program.