Grist Mill and Gardens hosting ‘virtual field trips’ amid COVID-19

General manager wanted to provide parents with some teaching resources during isolation

All is quiet at the Grist Mill and Gardens just outside of Keremeos.

The mill’s owner and general manager Chris Mathieson said during this time, he and his staff would be preparing the whole property for the summer season, but everything is at a standstill.

Camping reservations, concerts, and group tours have been cancelled or postponed as people continue to stay home to minimize transmission of COVID-19.

Since there are no field trips, Mathieson decided to host ‘virtual field trips’, so people, especially students, can still learn in an interactive way even if they’re not there in person.

“In the last two weeks, we’ve started seeds, we’ve baked bread, I tended a wood stove and talked about a structure here onsite called ‘The Summer Kitchen’. We’ve looked at apple trees, we’ve looked inside developing eggs and have now appreciated the newly born chicks,” he said.

“I could do a year of videos and not run out of things to talk about. There’s always something to do, always a little chore, there’s always an interesting project… there are all sorts of things and we have lots more yet to do.”

But no field trips, tours, and camping reservations mean no revenue for the 12-acre property.

“We are a place that relies heavily on visitation, especially from tourists. And the truth is, we’re not going to see any international visitors this year. That’s just realistically not going to happen, so we’re worried,” he said.

“We have a restaurant, a campground, a gift shop, and people pay to see the site but all of that is gone. We also don’t get any operating money from the government so we’re entirely self-sufficient. So when your revenue goes to zero but the bills keep coming in for things like power and internet, we have to find ways to make that money. So we’re trying to sell season’s passes and we’re working on other things that we can do at a distance that people will hopefully send us some money for.”

Mathieson said people can buy season’s passes and even if they don’t make it out to the site this year, he said they’ll honour the pass for the next season.

“What it does is it helps us keep going and keep the place running.”

He added the feedback to the virtual field trips has been overwhelmingly encouraging, and he said it makes him want to continue.

“My son’s school put out a resource list and we were included on it. That’s a real honour for me, that our school district thought we’re something worth encouraging families to look at.”

Mathieson’s virtual field trips are at 10:00 a.m. daily. You can find the videos here.

For more information on how to donate to the Grist Mill and Gardens, visit their website.

READ: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen holds meeting online

READ: How Keremeos residents can access health care during COVID-19 crisis


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park to partially reopen June 1

The Meadows in the Sky Parkway is expected to open

New Revelstoke staycation contest worth $1K launched

It’s to stoke locals for exploring their own backyard

Revelstoke sushi event fundraises almost $10K for local hospital

Kawakuba Japanese Restaurant raised almost $10,000 for Queen Victoria Hospital. The fundraiser… Continue reading

Revelstoke man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

Province seeks feedback on proposed all-season recreation resort near New Denver

Mountain lodge, chairlifts, hiking and biking trails all part of massive resort

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

Houseboat company partly owned by Shuswap MLA withdraws controversial ad

The ad welcomed houseboaters from other provinces, contradicting anti COVID-19 measures.

Squabble between campers in North Shuswap leads to bear spraying

An argument over late night partying escalated into a fight which led to one person being sprayed

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Penticton may soon allow drinking alcohol in some public places

Trying to inconspicuously drink on the beach could become a thing of the past

VIDEO: Flowers stolen from Vernon distillery

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery captured surveillance footage of the thief in a black car

Most Read