Discover Nature with Your Class

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

The Branch Out program offers your students a unique layered learning opportunity in your classroom, schoolyard 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 connections to STEEM (science, technology, engineering, environment and math). The workshop compliments in-class learning and is linked to Ontario Curriculum for grade 6 to 12 (see Curriculum Links section for details).

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 about one week before your field trip.

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 Q and A session. This presentation is filled with engaging interactive components.

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 (i.e.,  native plants, invasive plants, climate change etc.). These activities are tailored to the grade and subjects to support cross-curricular connections.

Duration: 60 minutes (approximate). Includes 30 minutes for the in-class presentation and 30 minutes for the 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 stewardship and education activities. Students gain real world experience in the environmental field by participating in real stewardship and restoration projects that enhance their understanding of local environmental issues.

Environmental projects may include:

  • Planting native trees and shrubs
  • Planting native wildflowers
  • Taking care of recently planted plants
  • 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 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. Education activities may include stream study, nature walk or local wildlife observation.

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

  • Stream study: Students use equipment to measure the biological and physical health of a local stream. CVC staff 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 positively benefits the broader environment.
  • Local wildlife: Using tactile environmental education props (e.g., binoculars, animal furs and skulls, ID books, etc.), CVC staff teach students how their stewardship project will connect, protect and enhance green space across the watershed.

Duration: Full day (approximately 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a 30 minute 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
  • Civics and Citizenships

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
  • Environmental Science
  • Living a Sustainable World
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Equity, Diversity, Justice: Form Theory to Practice

  • Each field trip can accommodate 40-60 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 and signed waiver (no digital signatures).
  • The program runs rain or shine, with exception of severe weather (i.e., thunder and/or 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. Some of our field trip locations do not have any indoor facilities onsite or nearby to serve as an emergency shelter in the case of 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 40-60 students, depending on the project and location.

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.

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 four to five hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m with a 30 minute lunch break. Some flexibility is possible and should be discussed with the program coordinator.

The field trip portion is all outdoors and many of our locations don’t have an indoor space. Dressing in layers, appropriate for the weather/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. For the in-class presentation, there will be a short outdoor component so students should be ready to spend approximately 30 minutes outside on school grounds.

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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