Discover Nature with Your Class

Branch Out is not just a field trip, it’s an ecological experience!

The Branch Out program offers students in grades 6 -12 a unique layered learning opportunity in their classroom and at a local green space. We offer this program during spring (April, May, June) and fall (September, October). A registration fee is required to participate.

Program Details

Overview: Starting in the classroom, CVC staff teach students about environmental issues and connect to STEEM (science, technology, engineering, environment and math). The workshop compliments in-class learning and is linked to Ontario Curriculum for grade 6-12.

Students also learn about careers in the environmental sector, gain insight into how they can make a positive difference in their community and prepare for the field trip.

What: The workshop consists of a presentation and a schoolyard activity. CVC staff visit your class one week before your field trip. We can deliver the workshop virtually, if pandemic protocol restricts in-person visits.

Presentation: The in-class presentation includes an introduction to the “who, what, where and why” of Credit Valley Conservation, an overview of climate change and its local impacts in the watershed, health and safety guidelines, instructions to prepare for the field trip and a questions and answers session. This presentation is filled with engaging interactive components, such as discussion questions and games.

Schoolyard Activity: After the in-class presentation, CVC staff will facilitate an interactive activity outside on school property. The activity will be linked to the field trip theme, including but not limited to native plants, invasive plants and climate change. These activities are tailored to the grade(s) and subjects(s) to support cross-curriculum connections.

Duration: 60 minutes (approximate). Includes 30 minutes for in-class presentation and a 30-minute schoolyard activity.

Who: Teachers and their students participating in the program with CVC staff.

Overview: During the field trip, CVC staff lead your class through engaging hands-on environmental education activities. Students gain real world experience in the environmental field by participating in field work and stewardship and restoration projects that enhance their understanding of local environmental issues. Students may be eligible to earn a certificate in plant identification and receive a certificate of completion.

Environmental projects may include:

  • Planting native trees and shrubs
  • Planting wildflowers
  • Taking care of recently planted areas
  • Building habitat features
  • Maintaining trails
  • Conducting a habitat/shoreline clean-up
  • Removing invasive species

Students engage in hands-on learning about the environmental field and STEEM-related concepts. CVC staff will teach proper environmental stewardship and restoration techniques, species identification, and share environmental history of the green space, while inspiring your students to make a positive difference in their community. Activities could include stream study, nature walk or local wildlife observation.

Environmental Education Activities:
*Subject to surrounding conditions and field trip topic/theme

  • Stream study: Students will use equipment to measure the biological and physical health of a local stream. CVC staff will teach your class how to collect hydrological data, sample benthic invertebrates and demonstrate environmental careers that contribute to the health of the watershed.
  • Nature walk: Explore the green space with CVC staff to understand how the environmental project will positively benefit the broader environment.
  • Local wildlife: Using tactile environmental education props (e.g., binoculars, animal furs and skulls, ID books, etc.), CVC staff will teach students how their stewardship project will connect, protect and enhance green space across the watershed.

Duration: Full day (approximately 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., with lunch break).

Who: Teachers and students participating in the program with CVC staff. Please note, there must be a ratio of one teacher/adult volunteer to every 20 students. However, please refer to your own school’s policies regarding rations as they may be lesser.

Where: Your class will travel to a local green space or conservation area selected at the time of registration.

Grade 6

  • Science and Technology – STEEM Skills and Connections, Life Systems, and Earth and Space Systems
  • Social Studies  – People and Environments: Canada’s Interactions with the Global Community
  • Health and Physical Education – Active Living, Making Healthy Choices, Making Connections for Healthy Living

Grade 7

  • Science and Technology – STEEM Skills and Connections, Life Systems, and Earth and Space Systems
  • Geography – Physical Patterns in a Changing World, Natural Resources around the World: use and Sustainability
  • Health and Physical Education – Healthy Living

Grade 8

  • Science and Technology – STEEM Skills and Connections, Life Systems, and Earth and Space Systems

Grade 9

  • Science
  • Issues in Canadian Geography

Grade 10

  • Science

Grade 11

  • Regional Geography
  • Forces for Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters
  • Environmental Science
  • Equity, Diversity, Social Justice

Grade 12

  • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis
  • The Environment and Resource Management
  • Living a Sustainable World
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Equity, Diversity, Justice: Form Theory to Practice

  • Each field trip can accommodate 30-60 students per day unless otherwise noted. This is due to the nature of each field trip project and location.
  • Teachers are encouraged to register as a group or department through the Branch Out registration page.
  • The cost of the Branch Out program is $400 plus HST.
  • Teachers are responsible for arranging and paying for transportation to and from the event site, and ensuring that the bus/transportation stay onsite during the field trip.
  • All  teachers, adults and students attending the field trip must bring a completed waiver. Student waivers must be signed by a parent/guardian (no digital signatures).
  • The program runs rain or shine, with exception of severe weather (thunder and lightning). Note: When booking a bus for your trip, please request that the bus stay on site for the entire day because the bus will act as a shelter for some field trip locations. Note that some of our field trip locations do not have any indoor facilities onsite or nearby in the event of an emergency or severe weather.

The wellbeing of our participants, teachers and staff is our top priority. Participants are required to follow COVID-19 best practices and safety protocols:

  • Stay at home if you are feeling sick, if you have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive or are under self-quarantine.
  • Practice physical distancing and best hygiene practices in compliance with local and provincial guidelines. We will do everything we can to ensure participants maintain physical distancing at our events.
  • Bring your own snacks, lunch and water.
  • Consider bringing your own mask.
  • Equipment and supplies, such as shovels and work gloves, are provided.
  • Dress for the weather and wear long pants, long socks, layers and closed-toe shoes or boots.
  • All students, teachers/adults must download, print and complete a CVC waiver. Booking teachers will give all waivers to CVC staff on the day of the field trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, the fee is a set rate of $400 plus HST. This accommodates a class or multiple classes booked together for the full program. Capacity is 30-60 students, depending on the project and location.

A 10% deposit is required to reserve your field trip date. An invoice for the remaining payment will be emailed to the booking teacher 30 days prior to the field trip. Our program coordinator will arrange details with you. Payments must be received no later than the day of field trip.

Any field trip cancellation requests can be made by sending an email up to 30 days prior to your trip date to receive a 100% refund.

If you cancel your trip less than 30 days before your trip date, a $100 administration fee will be collected. A cancellation fee will not be applied if cancellation is due to school board bus cancellations, school closures, teacher action (ie. strike, work to rule, etc.) or COVID 19.

CVC has offered this program for free since 2008. Since then, we have engaged over 22,000 students. Generous funding from the Region of Peel, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, UPS, Alectra, Enbridge, as well as CVC’s Foundation, have offset the costs of running our youth programs. Unfortunately, some of this funding is no longer available and we need to introduce a nominal registration fee of $400 to continue the program.

Yes, schools can register for more than one day. The program fee applies per day ($400 per field trip day).

Yes, depending on the project site and type of project, we can accommodate up to 60 students at one location. A few sites have space for 20-30 students because the site is difficult to access via foot/walking, or it might be due to the type of project and activities planned for the location.

When you access our registration page, you can select preferred dates based on the location and number of participants allow per location. We recommend you only select the dates that fit your group’s needs and size.

We encourage you to arrive as early as your schedule permits. Some flexibility is possible and should be discussed with the program coordinator.

The field trip runs for a full day, approximately 4 to 5 hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some flexibility is possible and should be discussed with the program coordinator.

The field trip is all outdoors and many of our locations don’t have an indoor space. Dressing in layers, appropriate for the weather and season is important. This includes long pants and long socks that cover the ankles, sturdy closed-toed shoes or boots, a long sleeve shirt or sweater, rain jacket, hat and sunglasses. We provide insect repellant and sunscreen, if needed.

No. Teachers, students and adult volunteers attending the field trip should bring a small snack for mid-morning, a litterless lunch and a refillable water bottle. We will provide drinking water onsite for participants to re-fill their water bottles.

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