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 and are available for ages 4 and up.

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. 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 students

Get your high school students outside to explore nature hands-on – register for the 2019 Envirothon. The Growing Tomorrow’s Green Leaders Challenge!

What is Envirothon?

The York Region Envirothon is a two-day interactive outdoor environmental education program for youth in grades 9 to 12. York Region Envirothon is part of the Ontario Envirothon and the NorthAmerican Envirothon.

A province-wide network of educators and resource professionals deliver this program through field trips, workshops, competitions and resource materials. All material is tailored to fit Ontario curriculum and Ontario specific activities and scientific information.

Envirothon promotes teamwork, leadership, communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Over 15 regional competitions take place across the province every year, with winning teams from each regional competition competing at the Ontario Envirothon Championship, which takes place in May. From there, champions compete at the North American Envirothon Competition in July.

The winning team of the York Region Envirothon will receive a gift certificate for planting a tree, shrubs or garden kit for your school, courtesy of Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF).

To learn more about the Ontario Envirothon program, please watch this video.

This program is offered in partnership with Forests Ontario, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and York Environmental Stewardship.

Who Can Participate?

Students in Grades 9 to 12 can participate. Teachers or leaders can register teams of five students. Additional team requests will be place on a waiting list. Teams can include eco-teams, homeschool groups and other community organizations such as Pathfinders or 4-H clubs.

Download the Teacher flyer to hand out at your school.

Envirothon Event Days

Teams are required to participate in both event days which will be held at the Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville on:

  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and
  • Wednesday, April 24, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Teams must have adult supervision at both event days. Reimbursements for transportation will be provided upon request. Participants are required to dress appropriately for spending the day outdoors, remembering that April weather is unpredictable.

How Envirothon Works

Event days provide students with opportunities to learn and interact with the outdoors.

Students will rotate through stations to develop practical, hands-on, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills on topics, including soils, aquatics, wildlife, forestry and this year’s special topic - agroecology - knowledge and technology to feed the world. Each station is run by natural resource professionals.

A friendly competition is held on the second day to allow students to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills.  Competitions generally follow this format:

  1. Teams rotate through various stations to answer questions and complete hands-on activities (e.g. forest surveying, etc.).
  2. Five stations focus on the Envirothon core topics (forestry, soils, aquatics, wildlife and agroecology)
  3. Each team will prepare a presentation. Teams are given time to prepare at the event. Students must evaluate and analyze the presented problem while relating it to Ontario Envirothon topic areas.

Winners will be announced at the end of the York Region Competition Day. The winning team will compete at the Ontario Envirothon Competition, taking place in May.

How to Register

Register online through the Forests Ontario website.

  • Space is limited
  • Registration cost is $140 (including HST) for York Region teams who register before March 1, 2019
  • Registration fees increase to $175 per team after March 1, 2019
  • The deadline to register is March 25, 2019

Tools and Resources

Study Guides and webinars are available to help prepare students for their local competition and the Ontario Envirothon Championship. Study guides and webinars can also be used by teachers for high school lessons to introduce key ecological concepts like carrying capacity, soil profiles, forest management, water quality assessment and much more. Lesson plans may offer interactive modules to support STEM. 

2018 York Region Champions

The 2018 York Region Envirothon - Growing Tomorrow’s Green Leaders Challenge saw eight schools compete for the Regional title. Congratulations to all participating schools:

  • Markville Secondary School – Winner of the 2018 and 2017 Regional Championship Title and Second Place at 2018 Ontario Envirothon
  • St. Elizabeth Catholic High School – Third Place
  • Bur Oak Secondary School
  • Stouffville District Secondary School
  • St. Maximillian Kolbe Catholic High School
  • St. Augustine Catholic Secondary School
  • Huron Heights Secondary School
  • Our Lady of the Lake Catholic College School
  • Humberview Secondary School
  • Milton District High School
Markville Secondary School Envirothon team

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?

Learn to tell a poplar from a pine.

Teachers, parents and leaders of students in Grades 4 to 6 are invited to register students to participate in Tree Bee - the tree identification competition.

Get students excited about forests as they learn to identify trees and test their tree knowledge against other teams in the Tree Bee Championship. The championship team will win an environmental grant, to help their school or eco-group become even more green.

  • There is no cost to participate
  • Teams must have adult supervision at the event
  • One to four students per team
  • Maximum of 20 students per school or organization


Tuesday,  November 6, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m


Elgin West Community Centre.

11099 Bathurst Street

Richmond Hill, ON L4C 0N2

Registration and Contact Information

Please register online. Space is limited. 

For more information, visit the Tree Bee website or email

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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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