Read the winning photo essay here
Canada's Coolest School Trip

Tips and Tricks

Are you looking for some ideas to get your class started on their entry? Check out the tips and tricks below!

Choosing a topic

Is your class passionate about the environment? Incredibly interested in history or culture? Then choosing a topic is easy! Keeping in mind that your activity must be linked to Parks Canada in some way, do some research and determine what you could do at your school or in your community for your entry.

With over 200 national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas, there are many ways to incorporate this into your curriculum! Click on the links below to discover all of the eligible Parks Canada places that you can choose from:

  1. Eligible National Parks
  2. Eligible National Historic Sites
  3. Eligible Marine Conservation Areas

Looking to connect your work to Parks Canada more broadly? Take a look at Parks Canada’s mandate and tell us how your work aligns.

What are some examples of stewardship activities?

No matter what subject you teach, this contest can be for your class! We’ve come up with some examples below.

Is your class interested in the environment?

  • What about taking part in a bioblitz? Or how about facilitating your own?
  • Think about participating in a shoreline cleanup or pick garbage and see what a difference you can make!
  • Work with a local organization to collect invaluable research about a particular environmental matter.

Is your class interested in history or culture?

  • Could your class participate in a local archeology project?
  • Is there a cultural event looking for valuable volunteers?

The options are endless! Just remember that your stewardship activity must somehow connect to Parks Canada and this must be demonstrated in the final photo of your photo essay.

Creating a Photo Essay

The thought of making a photo essay might be a bit overwhelming at first, but these helpful tips and tricks can make the process much easier.  

Choose the right equipment.

A smartphone may be the most convenient device in some situations, but without a tripod or selfie stick, your photos can end up shaky and blurry. Ask around if you may borrow a tripod or selfie stick. Alternatively, you can use both hands and keep your arms as close to your body as possible to stabilize your phone. Visit (English) (French) for some great tutorials.

Get the whole class involved.

Try to assign roles that will appeal to individual students. Some students love to be in front of the camera, some prefer to plan, some are great with post-processing software, while others like to take pictures.

Consider permissions.

Not everyone likes to be in front of the camera. Please get permissions to take pictures of people and places.

It’s all in the moment.

Keep your eyes peeled for action moments and take as many pictures as possible. Have students vote on which pictures best represent the steps of the stewardship activity. Remember photo 1 must represent the prep or planning for the activity; photos 2,3 and 4, the activity itself; and photo 5 must show how the activity connects to a particular Parks Canada place or Parks Canada’s mandate. 

Promoting Your Photo Essay

Now that you have created a great photo essay that flaunts your class’s work, it’s time to share it with the world! Gather those votes while inspiring others to get out there and make a difference too. Regardless of your community’s size, there are many ways to promote your work far and wide. Here are some ideas that previous classes have tried:

Create flyers.

Design some simple advertisements and hand them out at school or in your community.

Contact the media.

Contact your local media and invite them to report on your project. You can use the press release attached here and email the editor or producer at your local newspaper, TV station or radio station.

Contact local businesses.

Approach community businesses to help you promote your photo essay through advertisements, online efforts or simply by informing their employees and customers.

Organize a family night.

Invite students’ families to the school for a screening of your photo essay. Use this opportunity to encourage everyone to vote!

Use social media.

Create a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page that you and your students can share the community. Social media is a great way to encourage and remind your supporters to vote!  Make sure that you act the same way on social media as you would in person. Respectful and encouraging posts are the best ways to raise the profile of your program.

Remember promoting your work and engaging your community can start before the photo essay is completed. Use social media to engage your community with your progress and ask followers to promote for your class project. To help you promote the contest on social media, the My Parks Pass program is very active on Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to share messages from the following pages on your class project’s page:

If you have any questions, please use the Contact form found here.

About Fort Garry National Historic Site

Discover the endless ways to enjoy the magic of Riding Mountain National Park. GO

About Riel House National Historic Site

Discover the endless ways to enjoy the magic of Riel House National Historic Site. GO


Curious about the contest? Check out our FAQ page for all the answers.

Rules and regulations

Make sure you don’t miss anything! Click here to see the complete rules and regulations.