Children are spending less time outdoors, a trend many educators are trying to change. To supplement the countless indoor education opportunities, educators at Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) are bringing their leading-edge environmental science to the outdoor classroom with curriculum-based programs for grade one through eight students.
“We hear from a lot of teachers looking for fun and interactive outdoor programs for their students,” said Andrew Kett, CVC Manager of Education. “We’re opening the door and giving students an opportunity to get outside and learn about their local environment first-hand.”
Richard Louv, in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods, coined the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder’, describing how people, especially children, spend less time outdoors. Louv describes how this can lead to behavioural problems in children. He notes that children have an instinctive love for nature but their access is increasingly limited due to parental fears over safety, less access to natural areas and the ever present lure of the screen.
“I’m always amazed to see kids completely awestruck when they’re out in nature. It’s a whole new world to them and the experience can be quite transformative,” said Kett. “We’re excited about what our new outdoor programs will offer students.”
CVC’s programs encourage hands-on learning, linking science and technology, health and physical education, arts and language and social studies. All programs link with the Ontario curriculum. Teachers can connect their outdoor experiences with pre and post in-class lessons designed to extend the experience.
One of CVC’s programs, geared at teaching grade seven students about biodiversity and new technology, is called Eco Map Quest. Students learn how to use a GPS device and then take to the trails for a biodiversity scavenger hunt. Another program, Soundscape Safari, teaches grade six students how local animals use sound to communicate.
All programs take place at Terra Cotta Conservation Area, in the newly renovated Watershed Learning Centre, surrounded by 485 acres of unique natural environment on the Niagara Escarpment.
Educators are encouraged to register now for fall, winter and spring outdoor education programs. CVC is partnering with Switzer-Carty Transportation to offer educators a daily rate of $178.00 (dependent on location). As an introductory offer, the first ten educators to register will receive 50 per cent off bussing costs.
To learn more about CVC’s new outdoor education programs, educators can also invite CVC staff to host a free lunch-and-learn at their school. This short, interactive presentation includes a Q&A and is prefect for the staff room. As a thank you, participating educators receive a free family day pass to Terra Cotta Conservation Area and free teacher resources.
Up close and personal with a monarch butterfly.
CVC’s Watershed Learning Centre in located inside Terra Cotta Conservation Area.
Conservation Authorities are a provincial/municipal partnership. CVC was established by an act of the province in 1954 with a mandate to protect all natural resources other than minerals in the area drained by the Credit River. We have been working for almost 60 years with our partner municipalities and stakeholders to protect and enhance the natural environment of the Credit River watershed for present and future generations. CVC is a member of Conservation Ontario.
Marketing & Communications Specialist
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615 ext. 385
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615 ext. 429