Elementary School Students Build their own 24 foot Birch Bark Voyageur Canoe

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Hand crafted birch bark voyageur canoe. Photo credit: wzzm13.com

This makes me wish I had a school program like this when I was in grade six.

The students at Goodwillie Environmental School in West Michigan launched last week an authentic 24 foot birch bark voyageur canoe that they have been working on for the past 2 years as part of a massive school project involving 50 students.

Last week they paddled it down the Grand River for the very first time.

Sixth-grader Lauren Kanai observed the historic moment.

“A voyageur birch bark canoe hasn’t been rode down the river in 180 years. That’s pretty cool,” she said.

“It started out with a roll of birch bark and an idea,” said student Lydia Hughes. “And it was really cool to sail it today.”

Last year, students built the canoe using age-old techniques. This year they carved oars and studied the river extensively in partnership with “Think Grand” a project through the nonprofit organization Great Lakes Lifeways Institute, www.lifewaysinstitute.org, and funded by grants.

More info: mlive.com

Image Credit: wzzm13.com

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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