Inspired Inquiry in the Land: Through a Reggio Lens
Donna Indrakumaran & Karen Samson, Dufferin Peel District Catholic School Board
Participants will engage in hands-on proposals/invitations to create theories about dandelions & trees based on a bioblitz on trees and inquiry on dandelions from a Kindergarten classroom from the 2018-2019 school year. Participants will use clay, watercolour, and wire to make their thinking visible about trees and dandelions. A knowledge building circle about the Documentation collected will open and close the workshop. Documentation from the classroom will be shared.
Creating Magic for 2SLGBTQ+ Youth in Outdoor Education
Olivia Fogel, Ten Oaks Project
Ten Oaks Project has been providing camping and community programs for children, youth, and families from 2SLGBTQ+ communities for 15 years. We are happy to share some of our learning about creating magical spaces for these communities, and support other camps to remove barriers to safety and participation in an outdoor education or camping environment. This workshop will include some information, story telling, and discussion based activities. Participants will take away tangible strategies for strengthening their own programs to be inclusive and celebratory of 2SLGBTQ+ identities.
Walt Sepic, Firefly Adventures Inc.
Fire has brought people together for millennia. The social/psychological benefits of sharing this primal, survival tool are many. We’ll share the science of fire starting and maintenance and practice different ways to start one including the challenging bow drill as well as various ‘new’ techniques using steel wool, hand sanitizer, vaseline, cotton balls, dryer lint and others. We will problem solve rainy weather fire starting as well. Please bring appropriate clothing for outdoors and the weather conditions as well as a knife and any equipment you have found useful for this activity.
Beyond Beans in Cups: Connecting Schools, Camps and Community Gardening
Ross McIntyre & Emily Wilson, Camp Couchiching
Camp Couchiching has actively integrated community gardening into their local year-round programs since 2012. Find out how to get gardens into schools, support existing local community gardens, and how to connect with youth through this perfect form of outdoor, experiential education. This workshop is discussion based with activities highlighting the stages of how to develop, implement and refine gardening with youth.
Imitation & Outdoor Learning
Zabe MacEachren, Queen’s University
We have all have heard that a picture is worth a 1000 words, but what about if we actually got to be in the picture and imitate what was going on in it? With the promotion of free play and the inquiry method of learning, it is easy to think outdoor educators just stand around with their hands in their pockets occasionally providing an encouraging word or provocative question. Children beginning imitating others within minutes of being born–imitation is hardwired into the way we learn best. This workshop will explore the fundamental experiences role modelled in our past in outdoor settings, and deconstruct the ways they best provoke learning by allowing others to imitate your actions.
So, You Say You Value Outdoor Education, Eh?
Grant Linney, COEO & Brian Lisson, Adventureworks!
This interactive workshop will challenge and stimulate your thoughts on what it means to value outdoor experiential education in times of fiscal restraint. Come prepared to engage and discuss. Come prepared to be challenged and stimulated. Come prepared to leave with a plan.
Seed Germination Necklaces
Megan Tucker, Meg’s Beeswax Wrap
In a demonstration setting participants will learn how to make a seed germination necklace out of beeswax wrap. Participants will leave with an understanding of how to facilitate this activity on their own, specifically in a classroom setting. The benefit of the activity for a young learners development of environmental awareness and appreciation will also be discussed.
Reconnecting using subsistence living activities in the kindergarten
Jørgen Nerland, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
What happens when preschool children are participating in subsistence living activities within the context of pedagogical friluftsliv? An in depth presentation of theoretical background, results and reflections related to a quasi-experimental study carried out in western Norway. A group of 12 preschool children were taken out of their everyday life in kindergarten in order to participate in traditional (rural) friluftsliv related to subsistence living activities like fishing, gathering and hunting. The results of the experiment show a significant increase in experience based knowledge about nature compared to a reference group. And then there are all the things that can’t be measured…
Critical Thinking in Controversial Times: What is our Role as Environmental Educators?
Tobin Day, Bluewater DSB
As teachers, we are instructed not to tell our students what to think, but rather help them learn how to think. In a highly charged and political climate, how possible is it to stay neutral regarding the climate crisis, cuts to schools and other controversial topics? How neutral should we stay given the significant need for social and economic change, to prevent worst-case scenario climate change? How do we talk to students and their families about the longevity of outdoor education programs knowing that programs are at risk of being cut? What should we do if our students walk out for Fridays for Future protests? Come see recent examples of these questions in action. Please bring your own experiences and examples for discussion.
Fostering Environmental Connection Through the Body
Cassandra Witteman, Lakehead University
In this experiential workshop, participants will be guided through exercises designed to foster physical and emotional engagement with the natural environment. Through an inter-disciplinary approach, participants will use their bodies as conduits for environmental communication, becoming situated as natural subjects engaging in embodied activity in conjunction with the natural world and its inhabitants. This introduction to movement-based modalities will give educators a launching off point to embed embodied practices within their own teachings. Exercises ranging from contemplative practice, dance, theatre, and spiritual pedagogy will be wielded in order to give participants a basic conceptual grounding in the use of body-based praxis. There will be time for independent reflection. It is suggested that participants wear comfortable clothing and bring notebooks and writing implements.
Not all learning happens in the classroom
Karen Gormley & Brian Hendery, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award
The purpose of school is to prepare students for life beyond school. Today’s society has a higher demand for self-awareness and more specialized skills. One of the easiest ways to help advance students is by incorporating learning experiences outside the classroom. Taking classroom learning outside can help enrich a student’s educational experience by showing them real-life applications of theories that they are learning at school. Imagine what an impact it would have on our society if every young person had the opportunity to participate in The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. It is therefore our duty to bring the Award within the reach of as many young people as we possibly can – and to do that with rigour, with skill and with urgency. This can’t happen without the generosity of volunteers and supporting organisations. Ultimately, this can’t happen without you. Like the young people with whom you work, you too are about to embark on an adventure that will fill you with unique experiences, memories and a genuine sense of achievement.
Skills for Life – Connecting ‘Real Learning’ in the Outdoors’ to the so-called ‘Real World’
Robert Wallis, Outward Bound Canada
What skills will be relevant in the 21st century? This is a question that Businesses, Post Secondary Education Institutions, and Policy makers are grappling with. Automation and Artificial Intelligence are replacing some of today’s jobs, but also creating other opportunities. For example, there are some skills that only humans can do well – call them ‘Human Skills’, ‘Social and Emotional Skills’, ’Transferable Skills’, ‘Soft Skills’. This session will go through the ways Outdoor Education is a fast-track way to teach these skills, highlight reports showing these skills are becoming increasingly important, and show evidence that current ‘mainstream’ education institutions are failing to teach them. Finally I will show empirical evidence from Outward Bound participants that we deliver these outcomes. As we continue to struggle to ‘justify’ the importance of outdoor education, this session will empower you, and give you the tools to give your outdoor education the attention it deserves from those that make decisions and hold the purse strings.
Making Space for Indigneity: Calling Yourself In
Garrison McCleary, White Owl Native Ancestry Association
Many educators are asking, “how do I incorporate Indigenous content into my classroom or programming in a good way? I don’t want to appropriate.” This question is often driven by the fear of the unknown and stifles us into paralysis. So, where do we go from here? The simple answer is…it all starts will you. Garrison McCleary, a Lenape Land-based educator and counsellor for White Owl Native Ancestry Association, will highlight the important process of calling yourself in. This workshop will provide you with some practical skills you can employ when developing classroom or program teachings. Come prepared with questions to challenge yourself and your programs in walking the good path towards reconciliatory education.
Planet Primaries: Helping little people develop a life-long relationship with nature
Ian Faulds, Kortright Centre for Conservation
Developing a lifelong relationship with nature is essential if each of us is to become more knowledgeable, passionate and active in defending the well-being of Planet Earth. We know that a deep connection to nature can play a significant role in our overall health and well-being. This program provides a focus on where it all begins for outdoor educators: with our youngest students (K-3). Through a variety of hands-on, age-appropriate, sensory activities, young children will gain a greater appreciation of nature while developing their own relationship with Earth. Activities will be cross-curricular “in nature” with an emphasis on environmental literacy. A rich collection of easy-to-access program, print and on-line resources will be presented, all designed to be utilized in your schoolyard or local green space. Ultimately, children must understand that they, too, are a part of nature. Please be prepared for an exciting outdoor learning adventure as we prepare a path for our youngest Earth citizens: The Planet Primaries!
Earth-Inspired Design Challenge
Janette Lewis-Cridland, Toronto & Region Conservation Authority
Learn how to foster a connection to our planet through a fascinating field of scientific inquiry called biomimicry. Form and behavior in local species will be highlighted to gain an appreciation for how nature’s perfect design serves a specific function. Learners will be inspired by nature to design sustainable solutions to human technological challenges. There will be an opportunity to participate in the design process, and share your innovations. An outside component will be included if possible.
Educator and Leadership Institute: How educators like you are supporting teaching in Nepal
Judy Halpern & Sherri Owen, Wilfrid Laurier University
“Piti piti, ti pay pay, zwazo fen ich – little by little, straw by straw, the bird builds its nest.” This Haitian Creole saying is the vision driving our Educator and Leadership Institutes (ELI) that strive to support and train teachers where the need is greatest. In 2019, 20 educators traveled to Nepal to conduct the ELI program bringing Canadian and Nepali educators together for a 5-day experiential teacher training institute. The institute’s focus is to build the capacity of educators in critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication, with an emphasis on practical application of knowledge. Explore samples from our courses and discover if this adventurous opportunity may be for you in 2020.
Connecting Classroom Learning to the Land
David Hawker-Budlovsky, Mike Izzo & Matt Brundle, Toronto District School Board
Each year TOES supports classroom teachers in the TDSB during Get Outside Month in May. This year our theme was “Get Outside and Do Something Indigenous”. Additionally we hosted a joint venture with the Indigenous Education Centre in the first annual Learning from the Land Conference in the TDSB where we launched the this year lessons. We will share the resource, sample some activities and in infusion on Indigenous Ways of Knowing throughout.
Avengers Leadership Program
Brent Evans & the Norval Outdoor School team, UCC Norval Outdoor School
The Norval Outdoor School has developed a program loosely based on the popular Avengers movies. Teams will try to save the world by earning Five UCC Infinity Stones. The stones represent Upper Canada Colleges 5 core values. The stones have been recently discovered on the Camp Couchiching grounds. Each stone has incredible powers that can help the COEO community reach ultimate enlightenment and save the world. Each stone represents a UCC value: pluralism, community, service, learning, and wellbeing. The stones have set up a series of challenges in order for the teams to demonstrate the true power of each value. The stone will be awarded to the most deserving team of each challenge. The stone will only be awarded to a team that can handle its immense power. Come experience the power of teaching values.
Nature Names as a tool for teaching and connection
Chantale Killey, Camp Kawartha and the Canadian Ecology Centre
It is said that knowing someone’s name weaves a thread of connection from your heart to theirs. These connections can extend to all species and even to place, and can also weave thicker and thicker as you begin to learn more than just the name. Come learn a few practical ways to use “Nature Names” in your classroom, outdoor programs, or wilderness trips. Activities can be adapted to any age group.
Introversion in the Outdoors
Hannah Dabrowski, The Pine Project
Introversion can have many definitions, but mainly it refers to how people receive energy. Extraverts generally receive energy by being around other people. Introverts receive energy through being alone. This workshop will provide activities and discussion to deepen the understanding of introversion in the outdoors. The current outdoor industry includes few components geared towards introverts and this session will work to brainstorm how programs and trips could be facilitated with introverts in mind. The workshop will also examine various approaches to use when working with introverted participants.
Songs that Change the World
David Spencer, Peel Alternative School North
Music connects people of all ages, languages and cultural backgrounds. David and COEO volunteers are assembling a cell phone friendly songbook to be used for singsongs at summer camps, outdoor ed centres, classrooms and around the campfire. Join us to listen, read lyrics, play and select songs that build community, respect and understanding of cultures and our natural environment. We’ll strive to protect copyright and include sheet music, notes, chords, lyrics and links to Youtube videos. Please bring your voice, guitar and/or favourite musical instrument.
Julia Morch, Clearwater Farms & Bob Henderson, McMaster University (retired)
Wherever you are on your journey as an outdoor educator, join us, Dr. Bob Henderson & Julia Morch as we recover wildness in our lives. Wild pedagogy involves challenging dominant cultural notions of control – of each other, nature, education and learning. It is the edgy and messy work and we are inspired to weave together both intentional activities and experiment with more of an emergent design to explore the six current touch stones of Wild Pedagogies!
Open Your Eyes… To Nature’s Art Supplies!
Matthew McGuire & Erin Hartmans, rare Charitable Research Reserve
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 craft some of the materials discussed, and an opportunity to try out some of these wonderful and wild mediums! Come dressed for mess, all skill levels welcome!
Building Leadership Capacity Through Environmental Mentorship
Jason Blair & Jeff Sephton, Halton District School Board
This interactive, activity-based workshop will focus on student leadership programs working with local elementary schools. We will be looking at why these programs can be useful as well as how to go about getting one started. Using our program “ECO Rangers” as a model, we will look at the value these programs have for building relationships within your class, between teachers and students, between student leaders and participants, between your school or program and elementary educators and between students and the environment. We will also be sharing some of our best practices for building leadership capacity in young people. Our hope is that you will leave this workshop feeling energized and equipped to get started on building your own student mentorship and leadership program.
Diversity in Experiential Education: What is Your Relationship With the Outdoors?
Lauren Chu, Operation Groundswell
Everyone has a unique experience and relationship with the outdoors. How can confronting privilege create more inclusive conversations in experiential education, and why is it so important? What are ways that we can increase access or remove barriers to underrepresented or marginalized communities? Why do intersectionality and representation matter? In this discussion, we’ll challenge our assumptions and biases to ultimately facilitate more open & diverse spaces in outdoor and experiential education.
Steering Healthy Group Culture
Marika Chandler, Outward Bound Canada
There has been greater attention directed toward behaviour management and the setting of organizational culture in particular since the #metoo movement. While on an expedition, or working directly with a group of students and staff, we are all responsible for setting and maintaining this tone. This session will help us identify signs of cultural drift and brainstorm some solutions to address it early on. The platform of #metoo will be the base of the discussion due to the challenging nature of role modelling appropriate relationships and gender dynamics.
Fire & Food: A collaborative experience in connecting and sharing
Ben Blakey, Enviromind Consulting
In this workshop I will briefly describe an aspect of my previous work where I brought campfires to a K-8 school in Toronto through cooking various recipes with students. Reconnecting them with nature, engendering them with a love of cooking and food, and bringing in the element of fire are incredible tools in an outdoor educators’ toolkit. We will co-create a small meal together and ideally have some great conversations by the fire while sharing food.
Teaching and Learning in Elementary School Gardens
Sunday Harrison, Green Thumbs Growing Kids
Green Thumbs Growing Kids has been operating elementary school garden programming in downtown east Toronto for 20 years. The workshop/presentation will be a combination of sample activities and deep thoughts about the power of school gardens for food literacy, nature awareness and pro-social goals.
Public School/Forest School – Making it Happen!
Lisa Graham & Laureen Hardman, Falgarwood Public School – HaltonDSB
Are you eager and inspired to bring Forest School into mainstream teaching? Wondering how to communicate your passion and expertise to your administration, school council, co-teachers and parents? We all want to deepen our students’ relationship to nature, but how do we build the bridges to create experiences for learning?
Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry
Kate Barrett & Adia Mojsiak, Natural Curiosity
Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition supports a stronger awareness of Indigenous approaches to children’s environmental learning. It challenges us to move away from a euro-centric understanding of sustainability education, and question how we can deepen our connections to the natural world around us. Participants will engage in a group knowledge building activity focused on how environmental inquiry, informed by an Indigenous lens, can support children with developing a more powerful sense of place and relationships of reciprocity across Turtle Island. There will be a strong emphasis on Experiential Learning, the second branch of Natural Curiosity. This workshop will start indoors and hopefully move outdoors to engage our wider ecological community.
The Relational Model
Kevin Klin, The Boundless School
‘We cannot make people change; we can only invite them to change.’ The first step to getting to this change is to form a relationship with our students. Here at Boundless, we use a “relational” approach that emphasizes student choice and learning, rather than a top down/prescriptive approach which essentially forces students to do what we feel they should be doing. We aim to elicit accountability and positive behaviour through the use of personal connection.
Coyote Mentoring: Nature Connection vs Nature Education
Arlene Slocombe & Jessie Copperwaithe, The Guelph Outdoor School
At the Guelph Outdoor School, we use the 8-shields model of building nature connection. In this workshop, we will first experience some of the core routines and then will unpack it in order to get an overview and to learn why it is so effective. We engage nature connection as distinct from nature information and value Mentorship and the Art of Questioning over information dissemination. We work to draw out the innate brilliance of kids. The model is a distillation of a number of Indigenous frameworks of passing on vital content to children – appealing to the original indigenous blueprint within each of us. This work is designed to build capacity and resilience in the children, knowing the information will follow once stable connection has been fostered.
Histories of Settler-Indigenous Relations in Huronia: Experiences and Outcomes of a Land- and Water- Based Course
Gary Pluim & Kory Snache, Lakehead University
The workshop will talk about the activities, experiences and outcomes of a travelling university course during which students learned about the histories of Indigenous and Settler relations in Huronia, Ontario. A land- and water-based course implemented last spring, this inquiry-based experience was constructed to connect pressing contemporary issues highlighted by the TRC reports with the histories of and relations between Settler and Indigenous populations in the Huronia region. The central pedagogical approach of the course was a journey to and through significant historical sites (including along Lake Couchiching) by canoe, bike, and foot that enabled learners to investigate the patterns of settlement and their implications on relations in the region. In this workshop I will share highlights, reflections, insights, and observations of student experiences, and suggest prospective outcomes that were unique to the experiential, land-based pedagogy of this course.
Growing Connections in School Gardens
Jacob Kearey-Moreland, The Seed Library Commons & Bass Lake Farms
Saved by Seed! Join local farmer, school gardener and seed librarian Jacob as we endeavor to regenerate essential life-supporting ecosystems by equipping present and future generations with the relevant skills and tools necessary to preserve and promote biodiverse life on Earth. Learn about local history and current projects, and connect with fellow school gardeners to troubleshoot your growing initiatives, borrow free seeds, information and more!
Embodied Leadership: practices for developing a stronger capacity for connection
Scott Caspell, Quark Expeditions / Canadian Coast Guard
Embodied leadership brings our awareness into our body and its intuitive knowing. Drawing from the fields of mindfulness and somatic coaching, in this session we will explore techniques in grounding, centering and deep-listening. Outdoor educators facilitate connections with others and the natural world; our work inherently requires abilities in self-knowledge, mindfulness, and authentic relationship building. With practice, we can cultivate an embodied way of being that can transform our relationships and strengthen our capacity for connection. Bring an open mind and come explore ways to nurture a life of meaningful connection with ourselves, other people, and the world around us.
Trappers and Traders – Another Way of Knowing
Bonnie H Anderson, Simcoe County District School Board
See this favourite fur trade game from the other side of the story, address the truth and reconciliation of who was here before, and learn about traditional lifestyle and treaty issues from another way of knowing.
Nature: that’s pretty neat!
Matthew Amon, Way Out There Adventures
Join me for a slow and silent guided walk through a forested area at Camp Couchiching, building a greater connection to the land. This walk will also include nature interpretation, as well as animal track and sign identification.
Mindfulness and the natural world
Christine Lynes, CreativeSOULyoga
This workshop will begin with a body scan, as well as some yoga and somatic movement in order to align participants with the connection of breath and body. We will then move outdoors to further the connection of breath to body through the introduction of several different mindfulness practices in nature, all of which can be shared with your students.
And much, much more!