The Regional Municipality Of York


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Outdoor Education

The more that you learn the more places you will go. By Dr.Seuss

York Region offers a number of outdoor education programs designed for clubs, community groups and schools to connect people with nature and inspire action. 

Author James Raffan once said, “Learning about nature is no substitute for learning in nature.”

Nature's Classroom

Nature’s Classroom is a fun and informative outdoor education program offered to a wide variety of groups and organizations including clubs, community groups, large families and schools.

Held in the York Regional Forest, these educational sessions are designed to teach participants about the forest ecosystem and its importance to our community. Each session includes a guided forest hike.

Programs are 1.5 to 2 hours in length. 

Eligible group size: Minimum of 10 to a maximum of 25 participants (including adult supervisors)

Available programs:

  • Wild about Wildlife - Learn about the different types of animals that live in the forest, how to find signs of them, and engage in stories and folklore. Offered year-round
  • Nighttime Wonders - Use your senses to smell, hear and see the forest at night. Offered October through to April
  • Fit in the Forest - Learn different ways to stay active in the forest. Enjoy fun activities while spending time in the forest. Offered year-round for ages 16 and up
  • Nature by Snowshoe - Explore the forest on snowshoes and learn about their origin and cultural significance. This program requires snow.  Offered December to March, weather permitting
  • Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre tour with forest walk - Explore the Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre to discover the features of its sustainable design.  Enjoy a guided walk to experience the history of the forest while learning how it supports a healthy community.  Offered year-round
  • Other - Customized programming including badge requirements for Scouts and Guides may be accommodated, on request.  

Programs are designed to suit the needs of many different types of groups including:

  • Scouts and Girl Guides
  • Seniors
  • Naturalists
  • Persons with disabilities


This program is provided at no cost.


To register or learn more about the program, please fill out an online application. You will be contacted by the program facilitator.

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Adopt-a-Stream Crossing Program

Through the York Region Adopt-a-Stream-Crossing program, school and community groups have the opportunity to help restore forest cover and habitat in-and-around streams near Regional roads.

Activities include:

  • Tree and shrub planting
  • Litter pickup
  • A classroom visit upon request

Adopt-a-Stream Crossing program volunteer hours count toward the Ministry of Education’s required secondary school community service hours in Ontario.

We supply:

  • Planting and restoration instruction and guidance
  • Trees and shrubs for planting
  • Safety vests, gloves and shovels
  • On-site safety instructions for working around busy roads, water and uneven ground

Group responsibilities:

  • Wear clothing appropriate for the weather and sturdy footwear on the day of the planting
  • Group leaders are responsible for participant organization and ensuring safety standards are met


This program is provided at no cost. If a bus is required for schools, registered charities or non-profit organizations, the cost can be paid by York Region.


Events take place between:

  • April and June (spring planting season)
  • September and November (fall planting season)

To register or learn more about the program, please fill out an application form. You will be contacted by the program coordinator.

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envirothon montage

Prepare your students to take the York Region Envirothon - Growing Tomorrow’s Green Leaders Challenge. Envirothon gets students outside to explore nature, hands-on. Teachers of students in Grades 9 to 12 are invited to get a team of five together to take part in an interactive, curriculum-based event. Learn about forests, soils, wildlife, aquatic ecosystems and the human impact on all of the things we value in nature. Earn a chance to represent your school and York Region at the Ontario Envirothon Championship.

To learn more about what the Envirothon program looks like:

  1. Watch a video made by an Envirothon student from Central Peele Secondary School
  2. Visit Forests Ontario’s Ontario Envirothon website
  3. Check out Twitter feeds using hashtag #ONEnvirothon

Who Can Participate?

Students and youth in Grades 9 to 12, homeschool groups, Scouts, Pathfinders, 4-H Clubs and other community organizations or eco-groups are eligible to compete. Teachers or leaders can register one team per school or organization.

How Envirothon Works

Regional events take place across the province.  The York Region Envirothon program generally includes a one-day workshop and a one-day competition. The workshop day allows students to use tools in the fields of forestry, soils, wildlife and aquatics, and meet natural resource professionals. 

Following the workshop, teams prepare for a fun one-day competition. The competition day challenges students to apply their knowledge and skills, in an effort to win the York Region Envirothon Growing Tomorrow’s Green Leader challenge.  Competition day provides an opportunity for students to compile their knowledge and practice their collaboration, problem solving, and presentation skills!

The winning team from York Region Envirothon will compete at the Provincial Ontario Envirothon Championship. The team that wins the provincial competition will represent Ontario at the North American Envirothon Competition.

How to Register

Register online through the Forests Ontario website.

Stay tuned for more information on registration costs and deadlines to register.

2017 York Region Envirothon Champions

Markville Secondary School students are the 2017 winners

The 2017 York Region Envirothon - Growing Tomorrow’s Green Leaders Challenge saw 8 schools compete for the Regional Title. We would like to congratulate all participating schools:

  • Markville Secondary School – Winner of the 2017 Regional Championship Title
  • St. Elizabeth Catholic High School – Second Place, and winners of the 2015 and 2016 Regional Championship Title
  • Bur Oak Secondary School – Third Place
  • Stouffville District Secondary School
  • Richmond Green Secondary School
  • Pierre Elliot Trudeau High School
  • St. Augustine Catholic Secondary School
  • Our Lady of the Lake Catholic College School

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Access York at 1-877-464-9675.

Related Resources


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Tree Bee

What's all that buzz about trees?

Tree Bee is an exciting tree identification and forest awareness competition for youth in grades four to six. Teachers, Girl Guide, Scout and 4-H Leaders are invited to take part in a fun interactive event which inspires kids to get excited about trees, forests and nature.  The program encourages participants to learn about tree identification and general forest knowledge. They then gather at the annual competition to show off their Tree ID skills!

Get students excited about trees, forests and nature as they learn to identify trees and test their forest knowledge against other teams in the Tree Bee Championship. The winning team will receive a tree planting for their school.

  • There is no cost to participate
  • Open to York Region students in Grades 4 to 6
  • Homeschool groups, Scout and Girl Guide groups, 4-H Clubs and other community organizations are eligible to compete
  • Teams must have adult supervision at the event
  • One to four students per team
  • Maximum of 20 students per school or organization

How Tree Bee Works

The York Region Tree Bee competition is held annually in partnership with Forests Ontario. The next York Region Tree Bee competition will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

Participants will learn about tricks and tips to identify species of trees in Ontario. Teachers and group leaders will be provided with resources to bring tree identification to the classroom or meeting place, in an effort to prepare competitors for the Regional Tree Bee competition.


Please register through Eventbrite. Space is limited.

Contact Information

For more information, visit the website or email

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Related Resources

Nature’s Classroom,outdoor education,group,scout,girl guide,forest,hike The Regional Municipality of York en-US Outdoor Education Outdoor Education York Region offers outdoor education programs to connect people with nature and inspire action. Activities include education in the forest, tree planting at stream crossings and fun forestry competitions.

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