Note: Due to the COVID-19 situation, all in-person Branch Out programming has been cancelled for 2020. We are in the process of developing safe interactive digital climate change resources in place of physical programming. If you are interested in these resources for your class, please e-mail

The Branch Out! program enhances grade 6-12 science and geography curriculum and raises awareness about local climate change issues. Students are inspired to discover and restore nature in their community and participate in a local stewardship project.

The Branch Out! Program Experience:

Step 1: Interactive In-School Workshop

  • CVC staff visit your classroom approximately 1 week before the stewardship field trip.
  • The workshop lasts for one period (approximately 75 mins).
  • CVC staff help students understand local environmental issues related to climate change, such as biodiversity, habitat loss, water quality, and native flora and fauna.
  • Students will learn about the role of Credit Valley Conservation, the importance of the Credit River Watershed and its unique natural features.
  • Our staff will review the field trip agenda, health and safety, how to prepare for the field trip, and other ways students can help the environment.
  • This workshop is mandatory for all Branch Out participants.

Step 2: Stewardship Field Trip

  • Your class will be scheduled for a stewardship restoration project in the Spring (April, May, or June) or the Fall (September or October).
  • Each field trip runs for a full day (approximately 10:00am to 2:00pm, breaking for lunch).

During the field trip, students may:

  1. Plant native trees and shrubs, remove invasive species, take part in a shoreline clean up, and/or tend past planting sites to ensure their survival. CVC staff will lead your students through the stewardship work.
  2. Participate in an ecosystem-based field study such as monitoring local streams or creeks, calculating how much carbon dioxide is stored in mature trees and/or monitoring pollinators within a meadow.
  3. Learn about flora and fauna, climate change and/or local environmental issues through an interpretive nature hike or other hands-on environmental activity.

Please Note:

  • The program is designed as a layered learning experience including the in-class workshop and full day field trip.
  • Each field trip can accommodate up to 60 students per day with a minimum registration of 30 students.
  • Teachers are encouraged to register as a group or department. 
  • Typically, the Branch Out field trip runs from 10:00am to 2:00pm, however, timing can be flexible.
  • The Branch Out program is FREE thanks to generous support of funders, and offered to schools within the Credit Valley Watershed (see map). 

Transportation to Stewardship Site:

  • Teachers are responsible for arranging and paying for transportation to and from the event site.
  • The program runs “rain or shine,” with exception of severe weather. When booking a bus for your trip, please request the bus to stay on site for the entire day in case of severe weather or other health and safety issues.
  • CVC may be able to offer a bussing subsidy for 50% of the cost of bussing up to max $200. Please indicate your interest in our registration.

Connect your students to the Credit River through Citizen Science: 

  • Once again in 2020, CVC will be continuing our partnership with EcoSpark, in a limited capacity. Classes can participate in both programs in a single day, allowing students to take part in hands-on water quality monitoring (Changing Currents) and stewardship (Branch Out) through a full day of outdoor programming in the Credit River Watershed.  

What is Changing Currents?

EcoSpark’s award-winning Changing Currents program introduces grades 6 to 12 students from across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to their local watersheds and teaches them about watershed science. Students get outside, put on hip waders, explore a river or stream and learn about the importance of water quality through citizen science.

Important Changes:

This year the Changing Currents-branch Out Collaboration program will be done on a smaller scale. How will this affect you? We will be offering a total of ten collaboration days – five in the Spring and five in the Fall. This means that there is limited space for the program as well as limited sites. Please note that sites will be predetermined before the season opens, with limited flexibility. 

Please note:

  • This field trip costs $10/student for Changing Currents, but Branch Out is free.
  • This program can accommodate up to 60 students/day and is intended for grade 6-12 students. 

Due to concerns with COVID-19, physical Branch Out programming has been cancelled for 2020. 

register now


Questions? Please contact us:

Adam Wilford

Senior Coordinator, Community Outreach | Credit Valley Conservation

T: 905-670-1615 x441 | C: 416-678-6542