Mitt Design: Warm Hand Connoisseur
Zabe MacEachren, Queen’s University
Leather, Wool, Fur, Down, Silk, Knitted, Felted, Crochet, Stitched? Come learn a variety of ways to make the ideal mitt. Lots will be covered like the basics of what to look for in mitts suited to various outdoor activities, (e.g. why thumb seams are problematic). Leave with a pattern that fits your exact hand. Everyone who lives in a cold climate should experience making their own working mitts that will keep their hands warm no matter the temperature. This workshop will aim to provide you with the confidence to master making your own mitts and improve your success of leading others in also learning this fundamental making skill that ensures warm hands. There will be additional fun stories and trivia shared about hands-on experiences and mitt makers lives. Bring your favourite mitts, any partially completed and any mitt stash supplies.
Cross Country Skiing at Bark Lake
Hilary Coburn, Bluewater District School Board
Come join us for a cross country lesson followed by a cross country ski! If you haven’t had the chance to slap on a pair of skinnies, this is your opportunity to try this beautiful winter sport! We will work on form and technique first, then we will enjoy ourselves in Bark Lake’s gorgeous forest trails. Come dressed for the weather!
Winter Warm Up: Healthy Outdoor Cooking
Sheila Moor-Spanos, enJOY Wellness
When we look at the wellbeing of children, it’s important to take a holistic approach which views the whole child and includes what is fueling their bodies. This interactive workshop will offer hands on ideas and cooking experiences over a fire of nutritious snacks and meals that aren’t loaded with refined sugar and unhealthy fats. Basic cooking experience required. Dress for outside in winter. Bring, mug, bowl and spoon
Fruits of the Forest: Maple Taffy to Mushroom Tea
Rick Klatt, Renfrew County Catholic District School Board
Participants will be educated on the equipment, process and techniques to make maple and birch syrup as economical as possible. History of syrup making as well as handling the tools and equipment associated, including an explanation of how a tree is selected and tapped. Participants will also have the opportunity to taste birch syrup and will be treated to maple taffy made in front of them. Participants will also be taught about Chaga and Reishi mushrooms from harvest to consumption. Chaga tea and tincture will also be available to sample.
Outdoor Environmental Literacy through the Seasons
Melissa Bulgutch, Toronto District School Board
Learning about the natural world starts right outside the door, even in the city! Outdoor Environmental Literacy is a weekly program for all students at Cresthaven PS, in the Toronto District School Board. Presentation participants will see how students in kindergarten to grade 5 explore, investigate, and enjoy their neighbourhood during OEL. Some examples include: tapping our own trees to make maple syrup, partnering with neighbours to remove invasive species, shoreline clean-ups, natural world data collection, and foraging for nutritious treats. Lesson plans, outdoor logistics, day trips, resources, and tips for integrating OEL with the classroom program will be discussed. This presentation is for educators who want outdoor program ideas, and suggestions for making outdoor learning more accessible.
Learn to Play Harmonica!
Walt Sepic, Firefly Adventures Inc.
Participants will bring a “C” harmonica or use one of mine (I have 10) and will understand the structure of the instrument and how to wet their lips, pucker, slide and shake. If you can breathe in and out, count to 10 and pucker, you can play harmonica. You’ll be playing a known melody before you know it.
Make your own Snowsnake and take it home
Sheldon Lowe & Jessica Middleton
Presenters, Jessica Middleton and Sheldon Lowe will assist delegates in the use of the tools and also describe how using this concept in the classroom with students will be valuable. The next day, Sunday morning, there will be a snow snake track on the lake outside the dining hall and everyone will get a chance to race their snow snakes. They will take their finished snowsnake home with them, Cost for materials is $10. Limit of delegates in this presentation: 12
Diversity and Inclusion: How To Create An Inclusive Culture
Ayan Yusuf Karshe, RE:Representation
The focus of the workshop is learning how to create safe spaces in their workplaces that allow for diversity to flourish while allowing the cohesion to remain professional and functional. As a Woman Of Colour my lived experience will allow for any possible issues to be addressed as they come up. Part interactive workshop, part lecture and part Q&A I create the best possible environment for diversity to be the main focus. With my past experience working in Camping in the National Capital Region as well in the formal After-School programming I am uniquely suited to explain an outsider perspective while also understanding and connecting it to the Camping/Education shorthand. My work in communities and school allows me to toe the line of creating a space of accountability while still remain impartial. Active participation in the short activities or discussions is encouraged but not required. Allowing yourself to understand someone else’s perspective is fantastic but there must be an interest in self-discovery as well.
Skulls and Things
Valerie Andrew, Bark Lake Leadership and Conference Centre
An informative and interactive experience for anyone eager to learn about animal skulls and bones. There will be some hands on introduction to skull and bone identification, where you will get to handle some bones to get a feel for what they are like up close and personal. We will also go over some quick tips for cleaning and processing skulls and bones. You will also learn about some ways that you can bring this knowledge into the classroom for kids, adults and ESL students as well. If you have any skulls at home that you would like some help identifying, feel free to bring them, or pictures of them!! Any questions about bones and other fun things are more than welcome! This is an indoor workshop, so no need for any special clothing.
In the Know, In the Snow
Steve Ruskay, Black Feather
What is the difference between a snow flake and a snow crystal? There is more to snow than meets the eye. Every type of snow crystal has a unique set of properties, that effect its strength and characteristics. Temperature gradients within a snow pack constantly change the snow profile. The science behind snow is an expanding discipline, that encompasses engineering, meteorology, recreation, and risk management. Learn exactly what snow is, the science behind snow flake shape and formation, and differentiate between layering and other snowpack factors. Steve Ruskay is a Professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association. He has spent 13 years as a snow technician and avalanche forecaster, as well as program developer for Youth Avalanche Education. Join Steve for a unique and fascinating experience on and in the snow!
The Sustainable Math Classroom
Elizabeth Smith & Gleannan Perrett, Wilfrid Laurier University
Have you ever wondered how your classroom can be more sustainable but don’t know where to begin? In this workshop we will be discussing ways to create math manipulatives using upcycled materials. We will show you how to use common household items that are often thrown away (such as cereal boxes, bread tags, and bottle caps) to create manipulatives including integer tiles and fraction strips. In addition, all participants will create and take home an upcycled Geoboard, using cross-sections of a tree from our backyard! All needed materials and tools will be provided.
Tracks and Scats OR Poops and Prints
Bonnie Anderson, Simcoe County District School Board
How to look for evidence of nature in the forest – This workshop starts inside and goes to the WILD side, as we figure out who’s been out and about. Learn which prints to follow [or not] as you take groups out into the forest. Also, be ready for the spring Poop-a-paloosa, as all the buried treasures come to the surface one more time. Links to apps, math and snacks will be shown and discussed.
Monarch Nation: Using Species at Risk as a Tool to Connect Children with Nature
Rachel Stewart, Monarch Nation
Monarch Nation is a national program that engages and educates children ages 6-12 about species at risk, and empowers them to take action on behalf of wildlife in Canada. This session will provide a brief overview of the Monarch Nation program and related resources, demonstrating how the learning focus can shift from individual species to larger issues such as climate change and habitat loss. Participants will have the chance to dive into activities from the resources.
Kyle Clarke, Queen’s University & Jamie Innes, ALIVE Outdoors
Want to come play in the snow? Through this active and moist workshop, participants will learn almost everything there is to know about building quinzhees. The quin-zheeor Athapaskan snow houseis a cave-like shelter built out of snow—we’ll learn to make them and discuss their use as a winter shelter. Along the way, we will get up close and personal with snow in its various forms. Snow language and classification will be explained, as well as its ecological role during winter months. *Please note: this is a two-part workshop and you will get wet, so please bring an extra outer layer of clothing or rain gear as well as a spare pair of mitts or gloves.
Ian Faulds, Kortright Centre for Conservation
While it is common knowledge that reptiles in Ontario are currently hibernating, there is always an exception to the rule. The rare and elusive “snowsnake” has made an appearance at Bark Lake! Participate in a fascinating, traditional First Nations winter activity by watching snowsnakes “race” along a snowy track. Discover how you can create your own snowsnake “habitat” at your school site or outdoor centre using easily found materials. This activity provides another excellent opportunity for students to get outside and enjoy the winter season. Prepare for fun!
Evolutionary Psychology: How Fire Making, Risky Play, and Free Play Helps Reduce Anxiety
Brent Evans and the Norval Outdoor School Faculty
Participants will engage in some risky forest and free play and explore Evolutionary Psychology research that looks at risky play – the kind where someone actually could get hurt. Researchers suggest that the fear kids experience when climbing at great heights, being near a cliff, making a fire or handling a knife keeps them alert and careful and teaches them how to cope with potentially dangerous situations. Over time, mastering such scary situations has an “anti-phobic” effect which results in lower levels of anxiety overall.
Quinn Vos, Brock University
How well can you build a hibernation den to keep your imaginary “critter” warm? Animals that hibernate during the winter must prepare by eating a lot of food and building a home that will protect them against the harsh weather of the winter. Participants will work in groups in order to plan, build, test and evaluate their own hibernation den. This activity connects to several different grades within the Ontario Science and Technology curriculum, mainly grade 2, 3, 4, and 5, but may also be modified or extended to correlate with other grades and subjects. Please dress for the outdoors, participants will be making their dens outside.
Snowshoeing for Newbs!
Bark Lake Leadership and Conference Centre Staff
Strap on a pair of snowshoes and head off the beaten path. We’ll launch ourselves into the woods and see where our snowshoes take us!
Assessment vs. The Experiential Learning Cycle
Have you ever wondered what your students got out of their outdoor, experiential educational experience? Sure you observe, lead a debrief, and have smiling faces on the bus ride home, but how can you begin to understand the impact the experience had on them? This workshop is designed to explore different methods of assessment used in classroom teaching and expand those ideas to various experiential learning cycle theories. Leave this session with tools and strategies for understanding what to look for in your students and how to expand their learning experience further. This workshop will be indoors and a low level of physical activity.
No Guitar? No Problem! Songs for the (Guitar-less) Outdoor Educator
Leslie Hoyle & Bill Elgie, HDSB & Upper Canada College Norval Outdoor School
Guitars around the campfire are only one way to make music in the outdoor ed biz. Singing can happen any time and anywhere. Come and sing songs to welcome, to keep warm, to experience another language, to play. Sing about the snow and the frogs and the birds. Sing some old favourites and learn some new ones. We will use some percussion instruments which will be provided. We will start indoors but be prepared to head outside for the last 20 minutes or so.
OPAL: Making the Most of Outdoor Play during the School Day!
Linda Naccarato, EcoKids
Over the last 4 years, the Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) program has promoted challenging, creative, and child-led outdoor play in schools across the GTA. Through this interactive workshop, you will learn how a successful U.K. based program was adapted to a Canadian context, helping to remove the barriers and support outdoor play in 46 schools. Be prepared to hear all about the (minor) heart attacks for principals, the (sometimes boring) logistics that need to be addressed, and the real work of getting schools to understand how outdoor play changes everything. We will encourage active learning in this workshop, and participants should come dressed to move and participate in light activity.
Artfully Connecting with Nature through Storytelling and Imaginative Reflection
Vivian Bender & Iris Benedikt, Outdoor Educators
Participants will be invited to see natural spaces and materials as tools for imaginative learning. Storytelling techniques will be explored as a way of reflecting on our ideas, empathizing with the natural world, and envisioning new possibilities. We will be teaching a variety of skills to engage creatively with the winter landscape including the usage of small loose parts, oral and theatrical techniques and routines for tool use. Our goal is for participants to leave the workshop excited to add playful elements to their child focused placemaking practices and weave compelling narratives into their outdoor teaching. Come prepared with both indoor and outdoor attire and a willingness to creatively engage
Winter weaving a time of the longest darkness: stories from the earth, the animals, the trees and the sky
April Nicolle, Outdoor Educator
We are part of nature and nature is part of us. Stories help weave connections and kinships to all aspects of this shared existence. Throughout this storytelling workshop we will share a series of eco tales and engage our imagination in a little art making using bees wax to reflect the stories through our senses.
1, 2, 3, Broomball!
Bark Lake Leadership and Conference Centre Staff
Broomball is possibly the most fun you can have on ice! Try and score a goal while slipping and sliding in your boots on our beautiful lake rink. *Recommended for the highly competitive–temporarily suspend your wintertime peacemaking for this session:)
Enviroventure: Fostering Leadership, Character Development and Environmental Stewardship through Creative Integrated Design
Mark Gaynik, Simcoe County District School Board
Enviroventure is a 4-credit Outdoor Environmental Leadership program in which environmental education has been integrated by structure, by example, and through holistic experiences over the past 13 years at Nantyr Shores Secondary School in Simcoe County. In this presentation, the key elements of the Enviroventure program model will be featured, including: the intentional design and integrated curricular setup of the program, the experiential components, the physical, emotional and mental challenges, the family values, deep learning pedagogy, community connections, and the many ‘magic’ elements of this SHSM-based program. Through the use of video, student voices and a descriptive outline of the many elements of this program, it is the intention for participants of this session to be able to take the universal design features back to their schools to create more meaningful and character-rich outdoor and environmental engagement. Come prepared to engage, ask questions and discuss how successful integration can work for you!
Take Them Outside! Placed-Based Outdoor Education for Elementary School
Kelly Fahey, Outdoor Educator
Discover how to take the curriculum outside to inspire curiosity, inquiry and critical thinking in elementary students. Learn how place-based education encourages students to discover the natural environment in your school community. Take teaching outside to engage students through hands-on learning and inspire investigations. Sharing of resources, activities and technology integration will help you plan your schoolyard adventures.
Play Again – The Importance of Unstructured Outside Time in Childhood
Gary Barton & Kimberly Barton, UGDSB & OISE Teacher Candidate
Indoor location, armchair activity… no special clothing and only a warm drink required! This is a screening of the documentary “PLAY AGAIN” followed by a round-table discussion. This documentary follows six teenagers who, like the “average American child,” spend 5 – 15 hours/day in front of screens. PLAY AGAIN unplugs these teens and takes them on their first wilderness adventure – no electricity, no cell phone coverage, no virtual reality. It links a lack of exposure to nature with global warming. Through the voices of children, and experts such as Richard Louv, Juliet Schor, Bill McKibben, Gary Small and David Suzuki, PLAY AGAIN introduces perspectives and encourages action for a sustainable future. Discussion to follow covering such topics as: Barriers to taking students outside, what to do with them once you are outside, getting administrators on-side, etc. Bring your questions, we will try to find answers!
Building Your Own Fishing Program
Aaron Parcher, Upper Canada College Norval Outdoor School
Angling is a past time that many associate with their dad or grandfather sitting with a slack line for long hours in a cold boat. Or maybe it brings up memories of putting a worm on a hook at the cottage. Regardless of your experience or preconceptions of this activity, angling can be an incredible teaching tool that allows students to connect with nature on a deeper level. Within this presentation, participants will learn how to establish and build their own fishing program at their school or outdoor education center. You will learn how to source funding for equipment and how to create programs that use fishing as their cornerstone. Weather dependent we may also get out on the lake and go fishing.
Happy Campfire: ‘An intro to your happy hormones’
Melissa Tong, Human Connection Specialist
What makes you happy? How do we push happy?? First, we need to understand how happy happens. In this workshop, participants will be invited to play, laugh and learn while filling up their toolbox to help and foster a happy mindful community. We will be addressing the foundations to mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing. Ignite your fire with this interactive workshop that focuses on the happy hormones and how to keep your fire burning!
Reflection on Experiential Programs; Fostering Student Transformation and Transference
Courtney Pickering, St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School
How do we guide students’ reflective process to a deeper place on experiential programs? Whether it be on wilderness programs, in the classroom or travelling to new and exciting places. The presentation will begin with some stories of student transformation experiences travelling with students abroad and closer to home in wilderness settings. Following, there will be a group discussion on sharing different methods such as mindfulness, journalling, debriefs etc. How can we help students grow from their experiences by connecting with themselves and each other in our increasingly disconnected world.
Canadian Conservation Corps – Can you crack the cold? – An Outdoor Escape Room
Shanshan Tian, Canadian Wildlife Federation
Join Shanshan in an outdoor breakout experience where you will work as a team to crack the code into the Canadian Conservation Corps secret mission vault. Learn about the Canadian Wildlife Federation initiatives your school/camp/centre can get involved with, youth opportunities through the Canadian Service Corps, funding opportunities for youth led projects and Wild Education.
Trivia for outdoor educators
Sheldon Lowe, Retired Outdoor Educator
Participants will receive some background training on how to develop and use trivia for the outdoor classroom. Participants will create teams of 4 or 5 people and will compete as teams in a fun filled game of trivia. After the games they will be scored and prizes will be bragging rights only. A copy of the game rules and instructions will be provided and a starter list of questions will be provided.
Winter Project Lab: Upcycled Birdfeeders
Kyle Clarke, Queen’s University
Join in the fun as we get creative and construct birdfeeders from recycled materials—yay!!! Kyle will share some basic plans and designs that he has developed; demonstrate the safe use of tools; discuss classroom/schoolyard applications, birdseed, wildlife cameras, and then set you free to design and create your own project!
And much, much more!