Integrating Research into Activities
Emily Verhoek, Queen’s University Biological Station
Come to this workshop and learn how to integrate field research and data collection into outdoor and environmental education programming – allow students to make real world connections to their work! We will complete several activities that integrate data collection as part of the activity. This allows for opportunities for cross-curricular lessons and provides teachers with a data set they can use in their math or geography classes. These can develop into graphing, statistics, or mapping activities. Designed for high school level but can be modified for younger grades.
Forest School – Come Play with Us
Pat Andrews, Natural Pathways Learning Centre
The primary goal of the Forest School movement is to provide children with regular and repeated access to a natural space for child-directed, emergent and inquiry-based learning. Forest School is both a pedagogical approach and a program of delivery. In our time together in this workshop we’ll explore the local woodland, engage in Forest School activities, and discover how we can inspire a deep nature connection with the children in our lives. Please be prepared to participate in all weather conditions and to have proper footwear for a hike.
From Burnout to Brilliant: tools for authentic leadership, creativity and innovation
Owen Caspell, Owen Caspell Coaching (formerly with The Boundless School)
As outdoor-experiential educators and engaged citizens, we are constantly challenged to innovate, advocate, create and lead the way through difficult and uncertain terrain (both literal and figurative). As leaders, we face the challenges of burnout, bureaucracy, apathy and resistance all of which can sap our creative assets and leave us feeling unmotivated, disheartened and “blah”. This session is a booster shot for your leadership and creative potential. Come experience three powerful tools for building community and tapping into your own authentic leadership, creativity and resourcefulness. You’ll learn:
- Simple, effective tools for creating group agreements that really work (aka The Group Contract)
- Practical listening skills that have people feel heard in an authentic way
- Powerful tools for connecting with and creating from your own brilliant leadership
- How to apply these skills/activities with your students, coworkers and beyond
You’ll leave feeling inspired, refreshed and energized to bring your best self to your great work!
Agriculture and Food Literacy in Schools
Heather Law, Tawingo
Agriculture literacy enables students to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of where their food comes from. Learn about the “Farm of the Month” program that involves experiential, inquiry-based, place-based, and outdoor education to engage students. The program allows students to travel to local farms, have community members speak to the class, plant a community garden, make, grow, and process their own food, and truly understand their connection to the land. There is a huge push for food literacy in schools today and teaching students that agriculture is more than just “farming”, it’s an environmental awareness that transfers into their lives and what they eat every single day. Come eat, plant, and learn about this program
Diggin’ deeper into Outdoor Ed: Teaching through an agricultural lens
River Kochen & Adrienne Sultana, Everdale & Black Creek Community Farm
Not sure you have a green enough thumb to grow? Dig in with us to gain a better understanding of how to merge environmental and outdoor education through agriculture. Learn how to enhance your programs by teaching through an agricultural lens. Come experience some of our favourite outdoor & agricultural education programs that we run at our organic farms (both rural & urban) like our scavenger hunt that teaches all about what plants need to survive and plant your very own garden necklace! Through participating in these activities and viewing a slideshow of others, you will learn how easy it is to motivate your students through the growing of food while also deepening yours and your students’ connection to the earth.
The Race to Connection—How a wilderness program can be the first step to hope and resilience in youth
John Fallis, Pine River Institute
There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of youth in Ontario who are in need of intense, comprehensive and holistic residential treatment to get their lives back on track. Why is this the case? What can be done to rebuild these youth? What part does a wilderness program play on the road to resilience? In this session, we will attempt to answer these questions and learn about the importance of relationships as the foundation for growth.
Camp = Community
Ross McIntyre, Camp Couchiching
We know that camp is a community in and of itself. What happens when this spills over into the broader community in a year-round capacity? This is the question we explored by launching the Couchiching Community Initiative through Camp Couchiching in 2012. This presentation has some light interactive aspects and will outline a variety of ways to broaden the meaningful social impact of camp, regardless of your organizations current capacity.
Inspiring Young Advocates
Elaine Kenny, Toronto District School Board
A hands-on session about ways to inspire today’s youth to become tomorrow’s advocates. We will introduce a way to use technology to encourage students to clean up our world, spend some time digging in the dirt and share a variety of strategies that urge students to think about and act upon ways to have a smaller ecological footprint.
Excellence in Outdoor Education Programming
David Hawker-Budlovsky, Toronto District School Board
The Toronto Outdoor Education Schools (TOES) have had a focus on program renewal and development as we ensure our work supports and is directly connected to classroom learning in schools across the system. Connecting to Ministry of Education Policy (Growing Success), and connecting programming to curriculum, we further look to co-construct success criteria to the learning goal of “What does excellence in outdoor education programming look like?” Be an active participant in what this could look like in your context. Share your voice, gain information for others and leave with practical tools you can use in your own context in program development, review, and renewal.
The Application of Positive Psychology in Outdoor Education
Do you facilitate high ropes courses? Do have a team building activity? What about your go-to debrief? In this presentation, we will be discussing why outdoor experiential programming works, how it benefits youth and how we, as educators, can deepen our relationship with our students and in turn develop students’ love and appreciation for the natural environment. This will be achieved by outlining the symbiotic relationship shared between outdoor experiential education and positive psychology. Specifically, research and science in the field of positive psychology will be outlined and related to themes such as resiliency, play, positive emotions, and building meaningful relationships. These themes will highlight the benefits and importance of pre-existing outdoor experiential activities, initiatives and programs. Conference participants should come prepared to learn, play and engage in discussion.
Changing Challenges to Opportunities to Improve Learning in Outdoor Education
Rebecca Vincent, York Region District School Board
A growing body of international research has identified the tremendous benefits of outdoor learning for students of all ages and abilities. In this session we seek to help educators understand how outdoor & experiential education supports current Ministry and School Board initiatives, including student engagement, modern learning, mental health, and equity/inclusivity. We will identify some of the common barriers to promoting and supporting outdoor & experiential education in schools, and work in small groups to create possible solutions to these challenges. Our intent is for participants to be able to return to their schools and Boards with tools that will help them become better advocates for outdoor education in their home communities.
Land Based Learning in Yukon Territory
Hilary Coburn, Yukon Department of Education
After a summer paddling Yukon’s best rivers, September found Arthur and Hilary moving to the small but vibrant community of Pelly Crossing, home of the self-governing Selkirk First Nation. They were hired on in dual roles: as teachers at the school and to implement a culturally based, school wide outdoor education program. This workshop explores the challenges and successes these two found in blending the southern traditions of LNT canoe trips and cross country ski lessons with distinctly northern traditions of caribou and moose hunts, hide tanning, Dene sports competitions, winter long high school fur trapping programs (in -40) and snowshoe hare skinning and cooking lessons. Participants will leave inspired to pack it all up and head North or at the very least the confidence to bring First Nations practices and teaching into their own programs through partnerships with local communities and elders. There will be some practical components to this workshop.
Outdoor Education: A History of Innovation
Peter Vooys & Zabe MacEachren, Queen’s University
This discussion will focus on the innovations and innovators that have shaped the OE field in Canada. We are interested in creating a timeline of significant events and people that have steered the OE field to where it is today. What sort of patterns emerge when we consider changes to the OE field? How does our past point toward where the field is headed in the future? In addition to a discussion, a self-guided OE Museum of artifacts will be on display for the duration of the conference. We will discuss the pieces of the museum, as well take suggestions and amendments to the collection.
I Can Dance My World
Pam Miller, Toronto District School Board & Bonnie Anderson, Peel District School Board
Dance has long been an illustration of people’s relationships to their natural and built environments. Dance not only provides a special way of coming to understand our world but also provides a means to represent kinaesthetically what we know and understand about the world. Dance can be intimidating, however, dance is simply story telling through movement. It is an ideal artistic medium for letting students of all ages and cultures connect to and express their relationship with nature. All two left-feet dancers encouraged to participate.
Gail Molenaar, Wander Wild Wonder and SCDSB
Come for a StoryWalk®. A StoryWalk® is an opportunity for children to experience reading and the outdoors at the same time. Along with a parent, caregiver or educator, children follow a path from one laminated poster board to the next, each containing one page of a children’s picture book. Some StoryWalks® include collecting items along the way, or a snack or activity related to the story. StoryWalks® promote literacy, outdoor physical activity, and encourage parent and community involvement. Join me in the forest on an interactive journey.
Effective Questioning: A Facilitator’s Tool to Fostering Curiosity in Students
Ashley Strange, The Boundless School
Choosing questions can be a difficult task and can have a large impact on student engagement, curiosity, and ownership over learning. In this workshop participants will get the chance to learn about some strategies for lines of questioning that open up the door for curiosity in our students. The workshop will involve a limited amount of physical activity (i.e.: a small walk). The attendees should be prepared to contribute to debate and discussion around the topic of questioning as well as participate in some questioning practice.
What would nature do? – Resiliency & Adaptability in a Changing World
Chris Gilmour, Changing World Project
In this workshop, we will look deeply at our relationship with the natural world and our ability to both observe and learn from the intricacies of natural cycles and ways. What can nature teach us about resiliency and adaptability? Where does nature innovate to solve problems? How can we grow our ability to track and read the story of nature and draw inspiration for our own practices as mentors in the outdoors? And how can we use nature as a model to help us navigate a quickly changing world? This workshop will be a mixture of storytelling, scientific observation, hands-on activities, and opportunity for reflection.
Joy management training: it’s a matter of fundamental purpose
Bob Henderson, McMaster University (retired)
We will explore the tension between risk and joy management, and engage in a few joy inspired activities for the OE trail. Yes this is about reaffirming a commitment to the basic principles of Outdoor Education from a perspective that some such principles are too easily being lost.
Community Classrooms: How to Facilitate Student Belonging and Contribution
Barbara Sheridan, Barrie Forest Kindergarten and Nature School
This workshop will provide some insight into preschool and primary social and group skills. You will learn how to recognize and facilitate connectedness within the primary classroom and place based learning. This workshop focuses on child directed learning and how it fits into the Ontario Kindergarten Program but is applicable to children in preschool and primary classrooms. We will focus on the belonging area of the Kindergarten Program but also touch on the other 3 areas and talk theory observations that are appropriate for all primary students.
The Art of Nature; The Nature of Art
Ian Faulds, Kortright Centre for Conservation
A seascape; a mountain vista; an unforgettable sunset; dawn in Algonquin Park in late August as the mist slowly lifts from the lake… If you are able to appreciate any of these masterpieces, then there is an artist in you searching for expression. Join me for an artistic adventure as we explore a variety of artistic initiatives in the great outdoors. Using only natural materials and natural settings as a backdrop, participants will create art in nature that is completely transferable to school settings. Activities are easy to organize and require low to no budget requirements. Drama, visual arts, poetry , prose, dance , music… let nature inspire the artist in you. Not your typical art class!
The Amazing Race
Brent Evans & the Norval Outdoor School Teaching Staff, Upper Canada College Norval Outdoor School
This workshop is designed in the style of the popular TV program “The Amazing Race”. Participants will compete together in small groups, trying to complete a series of challenging tasks, games and puzzles that will require them to travel over much of the Camp Couchiching campus. To succeed, participants will need to draw upon the knowledge and skills that they have learned from their own life experiences. The Norval Outdoor School developed this program after the Grade 9 High Ropes Day trips got cancelled. We had a gap in our programming and we had to invent a new exciting program to inspire our teachers and students to return to the outdoor school in Grade 9. This is what we came up with. We hope it will inspire you to bring it back to your school or workplace.
Experiencing Solar Energy
Walt Sepic, Firefly Adventures
Do you like hot dogs and DIY projects? Participants in this workshop will perform experiments and conduct research with solar collectors, taste food cooked by a parabolic reflector, and see inexpensive solar demonstration models.
Extending the Experience
Rob Ridley, Peel District School Board
OE providers offer an essential service in the development of learners. However, we can move beyond the year book snapshot or the memories that never fade by “Extending the Experience” with our visitors. By creating a year round relationship with our visitors we are supporting classroom learning year round. Join Rob Ridley, Field Centres Coordinator for the Peel District School Board to learn of initiatives such as #KindergartenBioBlitz, how the Peel Field Centres are using technology such as Skype and Twitter and in school program development projects such as Classrooms Without Walls. Participants will be invited not only to participate in these global initiatives but encouraged to develop and create similar paths to “extending experiences” in their own communities.
Outdoor Classrooms: Cultural Activities and Land-based Programming
Jonathan Woolley, Keewaytinook Okimakanak Board of Education
The loss of traditional knowledge and skills has inspired Keewaytinook Okimakanak Board of Education (KOBE) and its Board of Directors to develop a program that will help to engage youth within five remote First Nations. Through the process of community consultation, KOBE has been able to design and build five outdoor structures in the communities of Deer Lake, North Spirit Lake, Keewaywin, Poplar Hill and Fort Severn. With the help of the First Nations/Language and Perspectives Lead and the Student Retention Lead, KOBE has been able to create programming and lessons that take students back outdoors to learn through traditional activities while also strengthening their connection to their culture. These activities are supported through elder knowledge and participation. Going into its third year, KOBE is looking at how they can incorporate 21st Century education into the programming to also support their Google platform.
Somatic Movement and Yoga Therapy
Christine Lynes, Creative Soul Yoga
The term is derived from the word “somatic” (Greek “somatikos”, soma: “living, aware, bodily person”) which means pertaining to the body, experienced and regulated from within. According to Thomas Hanna, who first coined the phrase, “somatics” is the study of self from the perspective of one’s lived experience, encompassing the dimensions of body, psyche, and spirit. The Yoga movements in this workshop will be slow and diliberate. Participants will move allowing for the breath to guide the movement and tune into the powerful healing quality of the marriage of movement and directed breath. Students will be guided into inner experiences of their bodies, deepening their understanding of themselves in motion. This transformational learning process can include sound, breath, touch and natural imagery in addition to movement.
How To Be Inspired to Create Change
Madeline Leblanc, On Board
Presently we live in a world that tells us how to do things. When I created the fundraiser ‘On Board’ when I was 17, there was no step by step list on how to do so. I had to not only work up the courage to get my idea out there I also had to figure out everything on my own. Even the idea of On Board itself was a very out of the box idea for many typical fundraisers at the time when I created it. I would love to not only share my story of how On Board all began, but I would love to spread my entrepreneurial ideas about creating an idea from scratch, and allowing your passion to change the world. Basically I would love to speak about what I have gone through, and what I have learned about cancer, stand up paddle boarding, sponsorships, and networking so that others realize that their goals and dreams are not impossible and its okay if your idea is out of the ordinary! Go after it anyways because you never know what kind of a future you can create for yourself!
Be Out Standing in Your Field
Bonnie Anderson, Peel District School Board
How to do citizen science on a shoe string – for all your science needs in qualifying and quantifying your own piece of outdoor heaven. How to set protocols and build your own tools for environmental assessment and figure out what to do next. Come with ideas to leave with a plan. For the K to 10 grades – all science – all fun – all the time outside.
Understanding Treaty from a non-Indigenous perspective
Nathan Tidridge, Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada at Massey College
The 150th anniversary of Confederation is an excellent opportunity to explore the Treaties that sustained these lands. One of the keys to understanding Treaties is to recognize that they established kinship relationships between the Sovereign and Indigenous Peoples that continue to this day.
GET KIDS PADDLING!
David Goldman, ORCKA
There are between 600,000 & 700,000 grade 9 to 12 students in Ontario schools. How many of them have the opportunity to experience what many of us think is an integral part of being Canadian – the canoe trip? This presentation will report on the discussions in Ontario paddling communities since 2013, and will outline plans for the Rendezvous on Paddling, November 4th.