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
- Schedule your 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 will help students understand local environmental and climate change issues, such as biodiversity, habitat loss, water quality, and native flora and fauna. The workshop will inform students of the role of Credit Valley Conservation and the importance of the Credit River Watershed and its unique natural features.
- Our staff will also review the field trip agenda, health and safety, how to prepare for the field trip, and other ways students can get involved with the Conservation Youth Corps program.
- This workshop is mandatory for all Branch Out participants since it will review how to stay safe while working in the outdoors.
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:
- Plant native trees and shrubs, remove invasive species, take part in a shoreline clean up, maintain trails, and/or tend past planting sites to ensure their survival. CVC staff will lead your students through the stewardship work.
- Participate in an ecosystem-based field study such as monitoring local streams or creeks or calculating how much carbon dioxide is stored in mature trees.
- Learn about flora and fauna through an interpretive nature hike or other hands-on environmental activity.
- The program is designed as a layered learning experience with 2 components: in-class workshop and full day field trip.
- Each field trip can accommodate up to 60 students per day (approximately 2-3 classes) with a minimum registration of 30 students.
- Teachers are encouraged to register as a group or department. Ideally, we would like to fill at least one school bus for each Branch Out field trip. Smaller groups may be accommodated, however may need to be placed with another school.
- Typically, the Branch Out field trip runs from 10:00am to 2:00pm, breaking for lunch at mid-day. However, arrival and departure times can shift to meet your school’s schedule and busing needs.
- The Branch Out program is FREE and offered to schools within the Credit Valley Watershed (see map). We are able to provide this program free of charge through generous support and donations from funders.
Transportation to Stewardship Site:
- Teachers are responsible for organizing and providing transportation to and from the stewardship/planting site.
- Most stewardship sites are not close to accessible indoor space so we require a school bus be used as a safe shelter in case of inclement weather or in case we need to evacuate the group from the site. We will run the stewardship day “rain or shine,” but not in thunder and/or lightning. When booking a bus for your trip, please request the bus to stay on site for the entire day.
- CVC may be able to offer reimbursement for busing, up to 50% of the cost of busing or a max of $200/day.
Connect your students to the Credit River through Citizen Science:
- CVC is excited to announce a new partnership with our friends at EcoSpark! We are offering a combined program where teachers can register for TWO programs at once, 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. Also, please note:
- This field trip costs $10/student for Changing Currents, but Branch Out is free.
- This program can only accommodate up to 60 students/day and is intended for grade 6-12 students.
Registration for the Fall 2018 Branch Out Program is now open!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us:
Coordinator, Community Outreach | Credit Valley Conservation
T: 905.670.1615 ext. 453 | 1.800.668.5557