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, free and informative outdoor education program offered to a variety of groups and organizations including not-for-profit and charitable organizations, clubs, community groups, families and schools. This program is open to children, youth, adults and seniors.

Held in the York Regional Forest, these engaging sessions are designed to share rich stories of the forest and its importance to our community. Each program includes a guided forest walk.

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)


Programs for all ages

Canada’s First Living Building: Inside and Out Explore Canada’s first ‘living building’ - 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 surrounding forest while learning how it supports a healthy community.  Offered year-round. Recommended for ages 14 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. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Nature Watch —  Do you want to be a citizen scientist? On this walk, you will explore the forest and learn how to report your discoveries. Help local conservation and science efforts by observing plants and animals and sharing data through online applications, while learning more about the nature around you. Offered year-round. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

Nighttime Wonders — When the sun goes down – you should go exploring! Use your senses to smell, hear and see the forest at night. Offered October through to April. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Wild about Wildlife — Wildlife lovers - this is the walk for you! Learn about the animals that live in the forest and how to know if they’re around. Engaging stories and forest folklore make this guided walk even more awesome! Offered year-round. Recommended for ages 4 and up.


Programs for adults (16+) and seniors (55+) only

Forest Stroll — ‘Easy does it’ is the theme of this stroll. This leisurely walk will take place on the accessible trail and is ideal for people with limited mobility or those who want to walk at a slow pace while taking in the many views offered by the forest. Offered year-round.

Getting Active in the Forest — Fitness buff…or not – this is a fun way to get active outdoors! Breathe in the sights and smells of the forest as you get your heart rate up with this low to medium impact walk. Offered year-round.

Vitamin N — Nature is good for you! Join us to discover more about the benefits of spending time in nature and ways to enjoy this awesome ‘vitamin’.  The program includes an indoor presentation followed by a dose of ‘Vitamin N’ by way of an interpretive walk through the forest. Offered year-round.


Customized programs

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, Girl Guides and 4-H
  • Seniors
  • Naturalists
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Local clubs and community groups
  • Faith groups

Cost

This program is provided at no cost.


Registration

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

Cost

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.

Registration

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

Envirothon students

Get your high school students outside to explore nature hands-on with the Growing Tomorrow’s Green Leaders Challenge!

What is Envirothon?

Envirothon gets high-school students outdoors to experience nature first-hand and hands-on! Envirothon is a unique team competition that rewards students for learning about the natural world around them. Workshops and activities help students understand forests, soils, wildlife, aquatic ecosystems and the human impact on all things we value in nature. Envirothon uses field testing to develop critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and communication skills.

To learn more about the Envirothon program, watch the York Region Envirothon video, the Ontario Envirothon video or a short video made by Envirothon students from Central Peele Secondary School, visit Forests Ontario’s Ontario Envirothon website, or check out Twitter feeds using hashtag #Envirothon or #ONEnvirothon.

This program is offered in partnership with Forests Ontario, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust and York Environmental Stewardship.


Who Can Participate?

Students in Grades 9 to 12, homeschool groups, Scout and Girl Guide groups, 4-H Clubs and other community organizations 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 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. 

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 new dates and costs.


2019 York Region Champions

The 2019 York Region Envirothon - Growing Tomorrow’s Green Leaders Challenge saw nine schools compete for the Regional title. Congratulations to all participating schools:
  • St. Elizabeth Catholic High School – First Place
  • Markville Secondary School – Second Place
  • Stouffville District Secondary School – Third Place
  • Alexander Mackenzie High School
  • Bur Oak Secondary School
  • Huron Heights Secondary School
  • Our Lady of the Lake Catholic College School
  • Richmond Green Secondary School
  • St. Augustine Catholic Secondary School
Envirothon 2019 Winning team photo


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 the buzz about trees? Tree bee.

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

Register now!

For more information, visit the Tree Bee website or email AccessYork@york.ca

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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.

Contact Us

  • Environmental Services

  • 1-877-464-9675

  • Administrative Centre

  • Accessibility

    Accessible formats or communication supports are available upon request

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