One of the great experiences I’ve had in Switzerland was introducing 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.
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 at 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 main attraction is 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