Connecting Youth to Lake Ontario

SHSM Students

Our mission at CVC is to protect, restore and enhance nature, and we couldn’t do this without one very important component – education. We connect with our neighbours, teachers, schools, businesses, organizations and youth in our watershed to share knowledge and encourage action.

Through our programs, we get to see people explore, ask questions and learn more about the land we love. Youth programming is a fundamental part of our outreach work. One way we connect with youth is through our participation in Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM), a Ministry of Education approved program that lets grade 11 and 12 students focus their learning on specific sectors. It also helps them identify and explore their career goals and make informed choices about what to do after secondary school.

In October, we hosted a conference for 100 students from the Region of Peel’s SHSM program. The conference offered hands-on learning about Lake Ontario. Students represented the business, non-profit and environment sectors.

SHSM students connected with scientists, government leaders, non-profit activists and Indigenous elders at the day-long conference. They learned about the importance of Lake Ontario, the risks it’s facing and what we can do to ensure a healthy future for our Great Lakes.

Our partners at the event included EcoSpark, A Greener Future, Izzak Walton Fly Fishing Club, Credit River Metis Council, Cat Criger, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board. Following the morning sessions, students participated in hands-on activities at Rattray Marsh Conservation Area to learn more about the issues affecting the Great Lakes.

This was a great day for connections! Students met experts in the environmental field, networked with other students and really had the opportunity to see how they could be part of a healthy Great Lakes system. For our staff, it was inspiring to see a new generation of leaders develop a deeper appreciation for our natural resources and understand the role these resources have for our health and wellbeing.

To learn more about CVC’s youth education programs and opportunities, visit

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