Spring is a wonderful time of year, especially for people who love music. There’s a tangible sense of freshness and renewal as the Sun gains strength and rises earlier, but then migratory birds start showing up and there’s music everywhere! For me, and I suspect for other music lovers, a swirling and beautiful cascade of bird songs is a clear sign that spring has arrived.

As this spring gets underway, I’m excited to be teaming up with fellow musicians Megan Nash (She has been nominated as Songwriter of the Year by the Western Canadian Music Awards!) and Ryan Hicks and researchers from Campion College, to offer a new, year-long program called Songwriting for Nature. Funded by Environment Canada, the aim is to give high school students a chance to deepen their appreciation for the natural world through the songwriting process. To that end, students will go on two chaperoned field trips to the Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area (NWA), a beautiful parkland area that has been protected since 1886! These trips will happen in September 2016 and May 2017, giving students two chances to learn about songwriting while using a variety of methods (poetry, journaling, photography, visual art, etc.) to capture their impressions of this amazing place. We will also work with students through the school year, to the point where their lyrics and song ideas can be showcased through a temporary exhibit at the RSM and at least one public performance.

We are running the program as a pilot this year, so we are focusing on students in the Regina area. If that’s you, or if you know someone who may be interested, you can learn more at www.songs4nature.ca or the Songwriting 4 Nature facebook page. Applications will be accepted until the end of May, and successful applicants will be contacted in early June.