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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

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Complete List of Outdoor Education Programs​


The Amazing Race

Grades: 7, secondary
Length: half day
Seasons: all

The Amazing Race is a modified orienteering activity that has teams of three working together to find 21 controls across the Scanlon property, using a map and compass. Along the way they encounter roadblocks and detours that incorporate real life forestry skills and techniques, used today by natural resource management technicians, to gather data and assess overall forest health. Students will also use a dichotomous tree key to identify different tree species found on the property. 

Aquatic Adventures

Grades: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, secondary
Length: half day
Seasons: fall and spring

Students survey the diversity of life found in a stream or pond. Using long handled dipnets students search rocks, plants and the stream bottom for life. Once the animals are captured, identification keys are used to identify and classify the animals. They also study adaptations animals have developed to survive in their aquatic habitat, and discuss how a healthy aquatic environment can be maintained. 


Beat of the Forest

Grades: K
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Students will explore the sights and sounds, and plants and animals of Scanlon Creek through the magic of music! Through play based learning, students explore and develop their sense of rhythm on an exploratory "beat hike" across the Scanlon Creek property. The basics of drumming will be introduced as students use rhythm, pattern, numeracy and problem solving skills, to beat their very own drums, as part of a drum circle. Animal calls will be explored as students build their very own animal call instrument. 

Biodiversity Blitz (formerly Biodiversity & Succession)

Grades: 6, 7, secondary
Length: half day
Seasons: fall and spring (frost free ground is needed for soil sampling)

In this program, students use a simple biological sampling technique, the transect, to study the diversity of living things found within a variety of biological communities in the park. The class sets up 6 to 8 parallel transects in an old field, new growth forest and climax forest. Along the way, students identify various kinds of plants and animals using biological classification keys. Soil is sampled for colour and for organisms, and slope measurements are taken to assess erosion susceptibility. The gathered data can be used for further graphing and data analysis activities when the students return to their home school.

Find-a-Bug Orienteering

Grades: K, 1, 2, 3
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Students begin their explorations by using insect models to learn the characteristics of insects. Next, the children are introduced to the parts of a map and how to use a map to find various locations. The students progress to a specially designed course where they will be able to use their new-found mapping skills, such as recognizing symbols, using a legend, estimating distances, keeping a map oriented, using a compass rosette and landmarks, and problem-solving to find our “hidden” insects all around the park. As the students travel from point to point, they will discover some interesting facts about our local insect species.

Getting the Dirt on Soil

Grade: 3
Length: half day in spring and fall

During this program students investigate the world of soils as scientists in the 'laboratory' (checking out soil recipes, texture, drainage characteristics) and as explorers 'in the field' study (investigating soil as it's found in the forests and fields). Both sections, though independent, are designed to complement each other and enhance the students' understanding of this substance called 'soil'. Students are also introduced to the amazing 'soil machine' that allows them to do in one day what Mother Nature requires hundreds of years to do. The day is concluded with the legendary "Mystery of Scanlon Creek" where the students solve a 'crime' using their new-found soils knowledge.

Habitats & Communities

Grades: 4, 5, 6
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Through the use of animal-related simulation games and visits to a variety of habitats in the park, students learn about the adaptations that animal and plant species have developed to survive in their habitat. Students will identify and classify species and study the relationships that exist between animals and plant species. They will also study the relationship between these species and humans.

Images in the Park

Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, secondary
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Students are given a brief perspective on how to use photography to express themselves creatively and to share their feelings about nature through this medium. The difference between using a camera for snapshots and for photographic art is shown by looking at a variety of artists' photographic works and discussing the way colour and black & white imagery, line, perspective, etc. are used. The students then go for a short hike to several locations in the park and, using provided digital cameras, take photographs expressing their own creative view. Back in the building, students select one of their photos to be printed in black & white. Using coloured pencils, they then colourize certain aspects of their print in order to impact the viewer's interpretation of their work.

Insect Investigations (formerly Hug-A-Bug)

Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7
Length: half day
Seasons: fall and spring

Go on an insect safari! Using a number of different techniques, students collect insects in a variety of habitats. Identification keys and field guides will be utilized to name and classify the insects. Students explore insect adaptations and diversity and also learn about the positive and negative roles insects play in their lives.

Introduction to GPS

Grades: 6, 7, 8, secondary
Length: half day
Seasons: all

This demonstration and hands-on training will introduce students to the new, exciting sport of "geocaching", which uses digital handheld units to connect to and navigate with the Global Positioning System of orbiting satellites. Students will acquire a basic knowledge of how GPS works and how to use a GPS device. Students will input coordinates for a series of waypoints hidden throughout the park, and then use their GPS units to seek and record these waypoints, and to discover the secret location of a Prize Cache! After successful completion of the course, students will have the opportunity to find one of Scanlon's hidden geocaches.

Kicksledding

Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, secondary
Length: half day
Season: winter (subject to snow conditions)

Kicksledding will make you discover the pleasure of winter. Millions of Scandinavians have enjoyed kick sleds for hundreds of years. Kicksleds could be best described as a chair on runners that is powered by the driver like a scooter. It’s a fun way to exercise and enjoy the many trails within the park.

Know the Gnomes of Scanlon Creek

(NEW Program & Modified ‘Full Day’ specific for FDK)
Grades: K
Length: full day (modified)
Seasons: fall and spring

Using the make believe world of Gnomes living in Scanlon Creek to help children connect to various aspects of the habitat of the park. Under the pretense of a general hike to learn about the forest, students will “discover” a secret map left behind by the Scanlon Creek Gnomes and use the map to visit different locations in the forest to learn about Gnome food, housing, games and music and treasures. This will also offer a creative means to learn about the lives, food and homes of other living things in the habitat and connect to the beauty and magic found in nature itself. For the program to be as successful as possible and to maintain a sense of discovery it is important that the students not be informed of any aspect of the program relating to “Gnomes”. They need only know that they will be exploring the forest and learning about different living things found within.

Lost!

Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Students role-play being lost in a remote Ontario forest. Before nightfall (a time limit set by our staff person), the students must construct a shelter to contain their group's heat, help make a community fire, make hot chocolate and cope with the elements. This program excels at promoting group problem solving and co-operation, as students work together and determine how to construct simple devices to accomplish their goals.

Orienteering

Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Students develop their spatial sense and their graphical literacy skills in our fun, competitive orienteering course. This program teaches the skills necessary to read and interpret a variety of maps, including symbol recognition, estimation, map orientation and problem solving. A progression of grade-appropriate orienteering courses, ranging from schoolyard level to large scale, allows students to be successful in finding specific locations or control points within the park.


Photo Orienteering

Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9

Students develop their spatial sense, compass and map reading skills in our fun, competitive photo orienteering course, by learning the different parts of a compass, how to take and follow bearings, as well as, how to use and read a map. Students are given a map with 18 stations, a compass, clipboard and pencil, and a bundle of 18 photos. Each photo represents 1 of the 18 stations on the map, at each location students must take a bearing standing in the exact spot where the photo was taken. 

Runners of the Woods

Grades: 5, 6, 7
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Discover what life was like for the Coureur de Bois and Voyageurs, in a role-playing game that takes your class back in time. As "runners of the woods" and "voyageurs", students must navigate through "uncharted wilderness", to different first nation villages, where they will barter and trade European goods, for pelts and furs. Map reading skills are developed and used as we examine the roles that fur traders and first nations played in shaping our country.

Scanlon Ecosystems

Grades: 6, 7, secondary
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Through games, activities and observations in a variety of ecosystems students will learn that ecosystems consists of communities of plants and animals that are dependent on each other as well as non-living parts of the environment. Students will have a first-hand opportunity to appreciate the biodiversity of living things while recognizing the roles and interactions of individual species within the whole. Students will realize that humans have many impacts on the environment.

Seasonal Celebrations

Grades: K, 1, 2, 3
Length: half day
Seasons: all (content varies by season)

Come enjoy the changes that occur with each new season in the park. Students will learn about the many plants and animals that make Scanlon Creek their home and learn about their adaptations to survive the changing conditions in their environment. A variety of games and activities will help students appreciate the changing seasons.

Sensing for Survival

Grades: K, 1
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Young children have an inherent curiosity about nature. This program takes advantage of that curiosity by beginning a study of a variety of living things, including humans. Through a variety of sensory activities in the field and forest, students will investigate the basic needs and characteristics of living things and observing their similarities and differences. By exploring the diversity of the animal kingdom, students will learn how different animals see, hear, smell, taste and feel and how they use their senses to find food and survive.

Species at Risk

Grades: 4, 6, 7, secondary
Length: half day
Seasons: all

This activity develops students' empathy for endangered species in Ontario and throughout the world, as well as helping them to understand the threats that some of our present practices impose upon wildlife. During a simulation exercise, students assume the role of either an endangered animal or a reason for depletion of these animals. As the game is played, students will begin to realize how human activities affect wildlife. The follow up includes a discussion regarding the problems faced by wildlife on a daily basis. Students will leave the program thinking about how they can help reduce these pressures and in the process, better understand the environment in which they live.

Sugaring Off

Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Length: half day or full day
Season: March

Come and enjoy the first taste of Spring in the sugar bush at Scanlon Creek. In the half day version students will participate in the activities of early settlers as they learn to identify maples, tap the trees, gather tinder and kindling, and boil down the sap. The full day version of this program adds to this experience with an exploratory hike of the area learning about and looking for signs of the forest's Spring awakening connecting with the bloom of the beginning plant growth and the return to activity of some of our local animals and how some of them have survived over the past few months. 

Teambuilding 101

Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9 
Length: half day or full day 

This highly engaging program will require students to work together as a team to accomplish various activities and challenges.  Students will develop their listening, problem solving, communication and cooperation skills in order to successfully accomplish each task. Group dynamics and character development are also key features of this program and will help to bring a sense of community to your classroom. 

Treasure Hunt

Grades: 1, 2
Length: half day
Season: all

Hear about the Scanlon Creek pirate legend and work to finish the partial pirate map. Following written clues and using their newly learned map reading skills, students will work in small groups and attempt to track down a key that will open the mysterious treasure chest, hidden long ago with incredible riches. Basic map reading skills are explored including; how to use a legend, symbols and compass directions. 

Water Quality Bio-indicators

Grades: 7, 8, secondary
Length: half day
Seasons: fall, spring

The health of an aquatic ecosystem can be determined by the presence/absence and abundance of different types of aquatic animals. Students will collect aquatic life from several different spots along Scanlon Creek and identify them in the classroom using magnifying glasses and dichotomous keys. By checking their lists of creatures with a biotic index chart, students will be able to assess the water quality of Scanlon Creek.

Web of Life

Grades: 4, 6, 7, 8
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Student are transformed into herbivores, omnivores, carnivores and elements (fire, flood, drought and disease) as they role play the lives of animals in a food web. By dealing with the problems that a forest animal faces (i.e. avoiding being killed, finding food, water, shelter and a mate), the children gain a healthy respect for all other creatures living on this planet.

Weeds, Seeds & Wildflowers

Grade: 3
Length: half day
Seasons: fall and spring

Helicopters, hitchhikers, gliders and stowaways – how do each of these relate to the plant world? After your class has spent a half-day in our Weeds, Seeds and Wildflowers program, they will be able to tell you. This program includes student investigation of plants and their needs followed by a walk in the Park to see how these most vital elements of our global ecosystem live in their own habitats. Programs booked in April, May or June will highlight the myriad wildflowers that thrive in the Scanlon Creek Park while courses booked in September, October or November will take a closer look at how plants produce and distribute their seeds and what happens to them over the winter.

Whatever Floats your Boat

(NEW Program & Modified ‘Full Day’ specific for FDK)
Grade: K
Length: full day/half day (modified)
Seasons: fall and spring (water level dependent)

Students will be introduced to how boats work and why they float. They will learn about different types of watercraft from simple rafts to big freighter ships. Afterwards, working in groups of 4-5, they will receive a certain amount of “Boat Bucks” with which they can “purchase” materials (milk cartons, cups, corks, plastic bottles, etc.) or use found natural materials to cooperatively build a water-worthy boat. Later the entire class will travel down to a section of the Scanlon Creek for a “regatta” in which the different groups will race their boats to the finish line!

Winter Walkers

Grade: 4, 6, 7
Length: half day
Seasons: winter

Students will be introduced to the incredibly fun world of animal tracking through a variety of simulation games and hands on activities.  Discover the world of animals that remain active during winter and explore the different ways in which certain animals walk. Students will investigate and better understand adaptations that allow certain animals to survive the harsh realities of winter. Using our tracking guides, students will examine, compare, measure and infer, what types of animals have been outside lately.