Bites, Burns, Toxins and Poisons: How to stay safe while loving the outdoors
Len James, Raven Medical
This is an introduction to plants and animals that can ruin your outdoor adventure. Lyme Disease, Poison Ivy, Giant Hogweed, Bee stings, snakes, are just a few of the nasties that can make your students sick. They are easy to avoid and prevent but can be much harder to treat. This presentation will discuss the medical aspects of toxins and poisons in outdoor programs–prevention, sign/symptoms, treatment and risk management.
James Robinson Public School: Building an inclusive schoolyard
Jeanette McLellan, York Region District School Board
Come on a virtual tour of James Robinson Public School (JRPS) universal schoolyard where children of all abilities can learn and play together outside. It has been a productive and rewarding 8-year journey. Learn about basic schoolyard design principals and best practices which include “loose parts play”. Discover the power of collaboration during all project phases right from research to construction. Be prepared to leave feeling like you would like to become a change agent! A question/answer period will be included to address specific areas of interest such as funding, plant material choice and care, community outreach plans etc. It promises to be a very practical and enlightening presentation.
Open Your Eyes… To Nature’s Art Supplies!
Matthew McGuire, Artist
When budgets are low, the arts are the first to go… Using natural materials, we will learn about and experiment with a number of ways we can bring the arts back into our classrooms and organisations at NO CO$T! Learn how to make unique brushes out of plants found on the forest floor, explore natural colours that are to DYE for, and try your hand at one of the most ancient forms of human artistic expression, charcoal drawing! This presentation will offer you a number of ideas you can bring into your own practice, the chance to try crafting some of the materials discussed, and an opportunity to try out these wonderful and wild mediums! Come dressed for mess, all skill levels welcome!
Nature Makerspace for the Young
Laureen Hardman, Halton District School Board
Laureen Hardman and Lisa Graham are kindergarten and forest school teachers in Oakville. Lifetime nature explorers, camp leaders and passionate educators, Lisa and Laureen bring experience from both the public and Waldorf systems to their practice. In this workshop, you will join our crafting/conversation circle and hear about how we integrate forest school into our public school kindergarten classes as we create projects suitable for kindergarten to grade four. You will leave the workshop ideas for or with a weaving project, a leaf banner, an autumn crown, a loose parts fairy/gnome and a lantern.
Engage in the building of a Community Based Satellite School Network
Brendon Allen, Cultivate: Community Based Satellite School Network
Cultivate is a network of small community based education sites being conceived around Ontario. These sites are not in operation yet, but early programming commences in March of 2019. All the sites will start by offering programming for the grade 8 year on a tuition based model. All the projects these schools engage in are sparked from the Ontario community in which they are placed. These areas are known for OE/EE potential, but also accessibility to the municipal, cultural and political engagements these areas may provide. The project based learning will have locals involved with the students at all levels. This workshop will hopefully expand and challenge your thinking on CBE and Place Based Education, while giving you a chance to share expertise on how to rethink and redesign the idea of school with nature and community at its heart. Workshop participants will also be able to share their views and ideas on Community Based models and offer their perspective on the model through a protocol.
Deepening Children’s Relations to the World through Community Knowledge Building
Rosa Na and Colleen Cornett, Natural Curiosity
The first edition of Natural Curiosity resource finds common ground with values inherent to Indigenous cultures in some important respects. Wahgeh Giizhigo Migizi Kwe (Eileen “Sam” Conroy), Anishinaabe Elder and retired elementary teacher, said of the first edition, “I cried when I read it. I said to myself, they’re finally starting to get it!” The 2nd Edition of Natural Curiosity supports a stronger awareness of Indigenous perspectives in environmental and all learning. This workshop will support a professional inquiry process that will model time-tested community knowledge building practices. This inquiry is designed to challenge us to think more deeply about how we relate to the natural world and to one another, and how community building can genuine opportunities for reconciliation. This workshop will start indoors and hopefully move outdoors to engage our wider ecological community.
The making of an outdoor education integrated curriculum program – A roundtable discussion
Kyle Clarke, Queen’s University (Facilitator), Tobin Day, BWDSB, Minka Chambers, SCDSB, and Katie Gad, UGDSB
The development of outdoor education programs within Ontario Secondary Schools are becoming more difficult to initiate because lack of resources and support. In this presentation, we will give participants the tools and guidance to undertake this somewhat daunting task. Those attending will participate in a discussion about the challenges facing outdoor education programs within Ontario Secondary Schools, learn specifically what teaching an integrated multi-credit program involves, and explore the wide variety of community or place-based learning experiences students can become involved in.
Capturing and Translating Experiential Learning Across Disciplines: A Gap Year Model
Michelle Dittmer and Madelyn Steed, Canadian Gap Year Association
Using our expertise in experiential learning through the medium of taking a gap year, engage with hands-on activities and practices that will help you to help your young explorers be better able to communicate their learnings so others can see the value that experiential educators know occurs. Support young people to grow as individuals and leaders within and beyond the world of outdoor education through articulation (oral and written) and communication of growth.
The Lake Less Traveled
Sue McDermid, Children’s Aid Society and David Spencer, Peel District School Board
Creative critical thinking does not only happen in a boardroom. This workshop will challenge you to think and work with others from the comfort of a canoe. We’ll consider the value of community environmental action projects and how we could use music and photography to explore our spirituality. We’ll consider solutions for potential social bonding barriers such as lack of reflection and technology addiction.
Nature’s “Sit Spot”: a simple and powerful experience, and a great tool for your educator’s toolkit
Chantale Killey, The Canadian Ecology Centre
The Growing Connection
Chris Wong and Robert Patterson, The Growing Connection
The Growing Connection has built sustainable vegetable gardens at schools around the world since 2003 and, since 2016, has partnered with Action Against Hunger/Generation Nutrition to building a network of highly space-and-water-efficient gardens across Canada. Please join our Workshop to learn: (i) how to grow the tastiest, freshest organic vegetables at virtually any site, (ii) the value of linking kids together in productive, sustainable activities, and (iii) how easy it is to build user-friendly gardens (easy on the teachers and facility staff, flexible / transportable for students and families). The workshop includes a hands-on planting demo. TGC will donate the planted Caja sub-irrigated planter to a lucky conference participant.
“Chain Reaction” Teaching Design Thinking Outdoor Ed Style
Brent Evans and the Upper Canada College Norval Outdoor School staff
Design thinking utilizes elements from the designer’s toolkit like experimentation to arrive at an innovative solution. The Norval Outdoor School has developed a program using a massive Rube Golberg machine we call, “The Chain Reaction” to help promote design thinking and experimentation. You and a small group will have to design and build a portion of the Chain Reaction using the equipment we provide. It may be logs and a bowling ball, it may be pulleys and a rocket, it may be mouse traps and a teeter-totter, who knows what we may give you. You design and build your portion of the machine and link it to the next groups machine. You will be encouraged to test and experiment with your machine until your machine is flawless. Then we will officially start the CHAIN REACTION linking all the machines together to create an awesome SPECTACLE that Rube Goldberg would be proud of.
Gaga: An exciting game for all
Rick Klatt, RCCDSB and Shaw Woods
This workshop will give you the plans to complete a gaga pit that requires no digging at all. You will help complete the construction then learn how to play this game that everyone just loves. Different variations of the game will also be introduced. You will also play a few games to learn the rules. There will also be some other activities around team building or leadership added to the end of the session with any remaining time.
Focus on FNMI Community Building within Outdoor Education Organizations
Liz Kirk, The Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario
In 2017, COEO’s Constitution was updated to include wording within the Values, Vision and Goals sections that acknowledges the alignment of Indigenous culture and outdoor education while also recognizing the importance of pursuing opportunities within the organization to strengthen mutual educational goals. These changes emphasize COEO’s commitment to increase capacity building through ongoing development of long-lasting relationships with people from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. In this workshop, participants will discuss COEO’s recent steps toward broadening the outdoor education community at conferences to include Indigenous perspectives and opportunities to connect with FNMI traditional knowledge keepers/elders. This workshop will also offer participants the chance to provide feedback and recommend constructive future steps for the organization to take in this area. Additionally, there will be an opportunity for sharing stories and wisdom from peers with experience taking steps towards building awareness and inclusion of FNMI perspectives within their individual programs.
The Common Differences in Community
Sabrina Chiefari, Environmental Educator
How do we, as OE/EE practitioners, move communities towards more ecologically positive actions for the environment? What are some common obstacles to community engagement? Are there universal “tricks of the trade”? Can differences within the community and between the community and the animator be bridged with lasting effects? This workshop hopes to leave participants with resources in hand to further their work or curiosity in “creating community”. Interested participants should dress comfortably to be outdoors for the duration of the workshop.
Wet & Woolly
April Nicolle, Evergreen
Wet felting is a process of laying out combed or carded fibers of wool either in the ultimate shape for their use or as a sheet of fabric later to be sewn into a garment. Felting is using hot water, soap and agitation and pressure to change the raw fibres into a fabric. Each fibre of wool contains numerous barbs that bind to each other or find their way through the weave of other fabric materials. The teaching of wet felting helps students in the following ways: it lifts motor activity to the realm of skill, it transforms willpower into beauty of form, and it changes what would otherwise be an insignificant activity into a virtue.
Integrating Hunting and Fishing as Outdoor Education
Aaron Parcher, Upper Canada College Norval Outdoor School
Hunting and fishing are often viewed as activities that exist outside the realm of outdoor education due to the risk, lack of understanding and current media representation. The reality of these activities is that they can be incredible teaching tools that help students gain a deeper understanding of concepts such sustainability, food webs and current ecological issues. Furthermore, the need for education surrounding these topics is vital as so many different representations of hunting and fishing are being circulated in all types of media. Overall this presentation will teach individuals how to integrate hunting and fishing into the Ontario curriculum through a holistic and sustainable approach.
Equity and Inclusion in the Backcountry 101
Anaya Lambert, Project Canoe
Come to this workshop for an engaging exploration of how intersecting oppressions impact the LGBTQ2S+ youth we serve in outdoor and backcountry programming. A self-reflective “Wheel of Power” exercise will invite service providers to observe and think critically about how they experience combinations of privilege and oppression in their own lives, followed by a group activity to explore the barriers youth face. In this intimate and interactive workshop we will dive into solutions, practical tips and approaches to improving how they serve LGBTQ2S+ youth in outdoor programming and expand their competency in practicing equity and inclusion.
Unwind and intertwine
M (Megan) Nowick, M’s Magic Loop
Keep your hands and mind busy while learning how to crochet. With attention to discovering the many benefits of working with yarn, ultimately it can become a relaxing activity with persistence and patience. M will teach others the crochet basics to create their own reusable face scrubbies and soap cozies. Participants will also have the chance to learn finger knitting, and corking. Hooks, yarn and other materials will be provided.
Taking the path less travelled
April Nicolle and Jesse Pelow, Evergreen
Participants in this workshop will experience the healing powers of meditation within a natural setting. Together we walk and wander, and learn how breathing meditation can enhance your overall health and well-being.
The Secret Lives of Small Folk: Using Creative Outdoor Play as a Writing Prompt for Children
Kyle Clarke, Queen’s University
Long before the Fairy Gardening craze swept across Canada or selfies of ceramic Gnomes on exotic vacations became a thing, the small folk among us lived quite peaceful lives and never received much attention from humankind. But today things have changed and in many gardens you can now find wee homes, farms and even small villages, as well as tiny buildings or shelters constructed of sticks, leaves, and pine needles in your local parks and ravines—after keeping hidden from us for all this time, why have the small folk (i.e., gnomes, sprites, pixies, fairies, brownies, leprechauns, etc.) decided to make their presence known now? Is it due to over population? Habitat destruction? Or simply, changing times? Perhaps they have come to teach us something about ourselves, and the ways in which we interact with the natural world? For this workshop, you’ll need to strap on your creativity hats! We’ll be making our own small folk, as well as homes and props for them, and then we’ll head out into the woods to play. Our creative play will form the basis for our writing, as many unique stories will emerge from our adventures outside.
Evaluation of Nature-Based Learning: An Environmental Education Project for Independent Schools
Ben Blakey, Montcrest School
This presentation will discuss the 2nd research project made possible by the Montcrest Research Initiative and 3 other participating schools that is nearing completion. The project involves an evaluation of Nature-Based Learning (NBL) as an extension of environmental education in the grade 6-8 Science and Technology (S&T) curriculum as well as school culture from the perspective of teachers and students at 4 independent schools across the GTA. The aim of the initiative is to share research projects publicly with the intention of advocating for an increased use of NBL in the S&T curriculum as well as from a broader perspective involving school culture.
Gardening with Children in Mind
Do you want to start a garden at your school? Do you have no idea where to start? Then this workshop is for you! In this workshop, we will explore the many aspects to consider when creating a garden with children in mind. We will look at the logistics, plant choice, garden activities and so much more!
Mapping your community Resources
Alice Casselman and Nimesha Basnakya, ACER
Community mapping sessions will be conducted around maps on tables in small groups. Participants will be asked to map resources in their community after discussion. For example: category, location, such as first responders, access to shelters during disasters, recreational and local programs in green spaces. Environmental issues facing their community will be determined and listed, then, with consensus, ranked using the HIRA process to determine action plans. Finally, determination of who would lead the committee to address the issue and what resources the committee leader would be need to implement the action plans proposed in a local and engaging manner to benefit the community for the long-term.
Accessibility off the Beaten Track: Outdoor Ed and Students with Disabilities
Laurie Gashinski, Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf
Classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse in terms of the spectrum of students with special needs. Over the past decade I have had an increasing number of students with autism, low-vision, quadriplegia, life-threatening medical fragility and allergies, Down Syndrome, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, and ADHD. All of my students are Deaf. This diverse student population presents us with significant challenges that may hinder taking our students outdoors, especially off the beaten track. Yet, recent research is showing that students with special needs are receptive to outdoor education and that non-traditional classroom settings can have big rewards. Through presentation and small-group discussion, outdoor educators can collectively problem-solve the access barriers they face in their day-to-day practice during this workshop.
Natural Dyes in the Classroom
Alena Cawthorne and Emily Lacelle
Dying to learn how to incorporate food from your garden into your classroom in creative ways? Come get your hands dirty in our natural dye workshop exploring methods of natural dyes using primarily things grown in your garden! There will be samples of different dyes, as well as the opportunity to dye your own garment (please bring a shirt or something you would like to dye). We will explore ways to incorporate these methods meaningfully into the classroom or outdoor education centres through curriculum connections, and expanding into various crafting skills (weaving, quilting, knitting, etc).
Forest Bathing: A wellness experience
Krista Kilian, Toronto District School Board
Krista is a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy. (see www.natureandforesttherapy.org ). She has incorporated this up and coming wellness practice into her teaching and guides walks on the weekends with people seeking to connect with nature, others and themselves. Shinrinyoku as it is called in Japanese, has been studied for its multiple health benefits. You will learn about these and experience first hand this unique practice while going on a forest Bathing walk.
Regional OEE Symposium: Waterloo Region
Nathan Mantey, Waterloo Region District School Board
Never before have representatives from these organizations converged for one ultimate, unequivocally awesome, PANEL DISCUSSION on OEE at a regional scale. Looking to network? Volunteer? Get hired as an outdoor educator? Don’t miss this panel including representatives:
– Rebecca Seiling, Kitchener Forest School
– Garrison McCleary, Grand River Conservation Authority
– Alexis Pownall & Emily Leslie, RARE Charitable Land Trust
– Sean McCammon, WRDSB Outdoor Ed.
We’ll ruminate on various approaches to nature-based education, compare the perks and anti-perks of working within each of our organizational frameworks, and advise on employment opportunities. Bring your questions to lay before this some-knowing expert panel!
Our Future: Being a Stopping Ground for Youth on their Mental Migration Superhighway
Jackson Hudecki, Royal Botanical Gardens
We’ve all been there; feeling the pressures of life weigh on your options while the fear of the unknown looms over. Are you making the right choices? Are you picking the right school? Do you even know enough? If you answered ‘does it matter?’ chances are, you’re already out of high school and know that you just need to take it one step at time. But do the youth of today have this kind of leadership in your community? Enter the Young Environmental Science (or YES) Alliance, an environmentally-driven, laid-back mentorship-based youth club geared to the success of students striving for a post-secondary career in the environmental sciences. Youth are always on the move, give them a place to land.
Creating Community Through Juggling
Stuart David, Durham District School Board and Leah Mighton, Wintergreen Studios
Juggling! In this workshop you will learn about the wonders of learning and teaching juggling and other small icebreakers to students. Juggling is a great way to increase motor skill development, concentration and pattern recognition. Learning by juggling also provides immediate feedback and is a great example of learning by doing. This workshop is inspired by a juggling course taught at the Laugar Outdoor Education Centre in Iceland and includes a focus on community building through juggling, supporting each other when learning a new task and discovering that a group is only as strong as its weakest link. Our hope is that teachers and facilitators can make use of these activities to build group dynamics in a fun way that requires few materials. If you are curious about trying a new skill, learning with a group and dropping lots of balls this workshop is for you!
TDSB’s Get Outside Month!
Matt Brundle and Krista Kilian, Toronto District School Board
Each year TDSB Outdoor Education Staff collaborate to create daily activities for elementary students to engage in during the month of May. Last year’s focus was Wellness. 23 activities were developed designed to motivate teachers and students to get outside and explore Well-Being from a wide variety of perspectives. Join us to have a look at the activities, the archives of past years and a discussion of the logistics, challenges and impact of this initiative. An indoor presentation will be followed by checking out some of the activities in the great outdoors. Bring water and remember to stretch!
Incorporating Indigenous Voices and Pedagogies: Working toward decolonizing your classroom
Nathan Mantey and Nicole Robinson, Waterloo Region District School Board & Garrison McCleary, Grand River Conservation Authority
Feeling shy about getting to know to your local First Nation community?
In this “How To” workshop we will explore best practices for reaching out to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit guest speakers and knowledge-keepers when developing FNMI programs or lessons. You will hear Indigenous and Settler perspectives on positive outcomes and potential pit-falls to watch for. We’ll discuss one case study from Blair OEE Centre involving guest facilitators from Six Nations of the Grand River territory and Mississaugas of the New Credit Territory. But what about your context? Bring your long-held questions to this ask-me-anything workshop! #TeachersForTRC
Working in partnership to Learn from the Land in a good way
David Hawker-Budlovsky and Mike Izzo, Toronto District School Board
The Outdoor Education Centres in the TDSB have been working closely with the Urban Indigenous Education Centre to infuse “Indigenous Ways of Knowing” into our programming. We will share our journey and the successes and challenges. We will work towards the understanding that Indigenous Education is not something done in isolation but rather honour the past, present and future on Indigenous people and how we can learn together for a better future for all.
Eco-Hacker: at the confluence of the maker movement, citizen science, and environmental education
Levi Moore, Waterloo Region District School Board
The modern idea of a ‘hacker’ (someone who repurposes and/or reuses something for a new purpose) is in many ways an environmental movement that, if nothing else, diverts waste from landfill and reduces needless consumption of commercial goods. When what your hacking becomes a tool that can supplement a citizen science project something powerful starts to happen. Teaching kids to hack something that solves a real world problem is truly cross-curricular and can be astoundingly transformative!
Get Kids Paddling Update
David Goldman, ORCKA
“GET KIDS PADDLING” is an ad hoc group of paddlers who believe paddling is integral to being Canadian and who are promoting opportunities for young people to experience canoeing and/or kayaking. Come join the conversation and hear what our groups been up to during the past 12 months.
Zabe MacEachren, Queen’s University
Are you tired of singing Disney songs around a campfire and putting on silly skits? Do you crave doing something with your campfire program that is more meaningful, primal, yet does not leave you feeling like you are culturally appropriating? Have you ever felt like letting loose by just dancing, drumming or chanting especially because, FIRE, is such an incredible gift and needs to be honoured more in our modern world. Come, Listen, Hear, about the past activities of Queen’s Universities Outdoor & Experiential Education students and their “primal campfire” evenings. Become inspired to reclaim ancient ways of honouring FIRE (the sun on Earth). Who knows where this will lead us on Saturday evening (after the dance!) Come prepared to know, to learn and to respect FIRE in new ways. Bring a drum, shaker and your moving body.
Teach gardening and teaching across the curriculum
Stefan Dixon, Conseil Scolaire Viamonde
Would you like to get outside gardening more with your students, or to see more teachers at your school getting outside with their students? Would you like to see all of the classes in your school learning outdoors? This workshop will give you hands on ideas about teaching all of the curriculum outside while you and your students take care of potentially various types of gardens, from native medicinal herb gardens to small wooded areas, to vegetable gardens, to butterfly gardens and more, and even what to do if you teach in a school with an asphalt postage stamp as a playground. You will get ideas about fostering outdoor learning leadership amongst your teacher colleagues and students. You’ll learn about the challenges you may face in different environments and solutions that are available to you. You will also get a chance to learn from others taking this workshop.
Creative Communities – Mindful Movement
Christine Lynes and Sarah Lynes, CreativeSOULyoga
This workshop aims to teach participants how to employ simple mindfulness activities in their classrooms, staff meetings board meetings or communities. The workshop will engage participants in various types of yoga, dance and somatic movement that calms the nervous system and assists with mindfulness.
Outdoor Learning in French
Danielle Barrett, Royal Botanical Gardens
Have you ever wanted to introduce French into your outdoor teaching? Come learn some of the strategies, techniques and challenges involved in delivering French educational programs. We will discuss and share available resources to help plan and develop nature-based French programs. Please dress for the weather as there will be a short outdoor walk included to demonstrate how you can incorporate French into your outdoor education programs. An elementary level of comprehension in French is also recommended for all participants.
Duct tape and more: Repairing equipment on trip
Walt Sepic, Firefly Adventures
We’ve all been on a canoe/hiking trip and a piece (or 2) of equipment breaks or fails. In this workshop, we’ll share our stories AND our solutions (or efforts towards them). Broken tent poles, clogged water filters, broken canoe yokes, torn pack straps and stoves that leak are some of the problems that occur on trip. Discover how to save your trip and stay on schedule. Brainstorming solutions to technical problems using the assembled brain matter should give us all a better understanding of how to solve equipment issues on trip. Pad and pencil suggested. Bringing broken equipment encouraged.
Let’s Talk Trans Inclusion
Outdoor programming has a tradition of being segregated by gender. While this can serve certain purposes, it also has the potential to create a barrier for trans, two-spirit, and intersex individuals’ participation. Hear about some outdoor organizations and companies that have implemented inclusion policies, or have informal cultures of acceptance. If you have an interest in educating yourself or your staff on creating more gender-inclusive spaces, or if you have wondered why this is important for the outdoor industry, come and find out about a range of Canadian resources available from educational, sports, and human rights spheres. Bring your own successes, practices, and questions for a discussion.
Get STE(A)Mier – add some environmental responsibility
Bonnie Anderson, Simcoe County District School Board
Bring your STE(A)M program to the next level by examining them through a sustainability lens. Learn to tweak your current program to include consciousness of the complete materials life-cycle and examine the consequences of students producing items intended for short term use. Consider moving beyond products and applying the STE(A)M process to behaviours and policies. Learn from my own successes and failures and let’s get even STEAMIER.