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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Skip Navigation LinksLake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority > Full Program List & Descriptions

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Complete List of Outdoor Education Programs​


The Amazing Race​​​

Grades: 7, 9​, 10, 12
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. Roadblocks and detours are part of the program and present different challenges the teams must overcome in order to be successful. There are two versions of The Amazing Race to choose from: Focus on Forestry or Teambuilding Challenge.​

Aquatic Adventures

Grades: 2, 4, 6
Length: half day
Seasons: fall and spring

Students survey the diversity of life found in Scanlon Creek. Using long handled dipnets students search rocks, plants and the stream bottom for life. Once the macroinvertebrates are caught, identification sheets are used to categorize them into sensitive, semi-tolerant, or tolerant species. A discussion on water quality follows their investigation. Students also discuss how a healthy aquatic environment can be maintained.

Arctic Winter Games

Grades: 2, 4, 6
Length: half day
Seasons: winter
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Take an adventure to Northern Canada as we explore traditional Inuit culture and the animals that live in the Arctic.  Students are i​mmersed in a variety of traditional arctic winter games created by the Inuit and Dene, in this extremely fun, experiential and engaging program. Discuss how the cold northern climate has not only affected the lives of the people who live there, but also the animals.


Beat of the Forest

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

Beauty of Birds

Grades: 4, 7
Length: half day
Seasons: winter and spring
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Students are introduced to the exciting world of citizen science inside the classroom, specifically Project Feeder Watch. After an interactive hike, students will rotate through 5 stations in groups, using our field guides, cameras, binoculars and worksheets, to identify as many birds as possible at each pre-determined location, with the overall goal of contributing important data of the different bird species found at Scanlon Creek.

Biodiversity Blitz

Grades: 6, 7, 9, 11
Length: half day
Seasons: fall and spring (frost free ground is needed for soil sampling)
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In this program, students will sample and investigate the diversity of living things, at different locations across the Scanlon Creek property. The relationship between biotic and abiotic factors within ecosystems will be examined. Soil composition, chemistry, and colour will be explored, while plant and animal species are identified, using biological classification keys. The gathered data can be used for further graphing and data analysis activities, when the students return to their home school.​​

Clima​te Escape

Grades: 7 - 10
Length: half day
Seasons: all



Students will learn about the carbon cycle, the greenhouse gas effect and climate change from a global and local standpoint. As a culminating activity students will participate in a game called climate escape, which will challenge them to work together to navigate around the Scanlon Creek property solving various puzzles in order to reveal the locked “answer to climate change”. This game requires students to apply their knowledge of climate change, while employing the use of 21st century skills in an interactive and exciting game.

Creekside Study

​Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7
Length: half day​
Seasons: fall and spring ​
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Students will investigate and explore the importance of water within the Lake Simcoe watershed, as it relates to both aquatic and terrestrial habitats or ecosystems. Students will discuss water usage, invasive species, species at risk and water filtration through a variety of hands on simulations games and activities. Students will leave with a greater appreciation of their daily use of water as a resource, as well as, current important issues that are affecting the sustainability and health of the Lake Simcoe watershed.

Find-a-Bug Orienteering

Grades: K, 1, 2, 3
Length: half day
Seasons: all 
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Students begin their explorations by using insect models to learn about the physical 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 will 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 rose 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 so​me interesting facts about our local insect species.

Friends of the Forest

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

Come and explore the forest with us on this interactive hike, and learn about how the plants and animals that call Scanlon Creek home survive through the changing seasons. Through a variety of activities, games and nature exploration, students will gain an appreciation for all of our forest friends and learn about how humans can affect them both positively and negatively.​

Getting the Dirt on Soil

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

It's time to get your hands dirty, by Getting The Dirt On Soil! Come and investigate the world of soils as a scientist in the "laboratory" and as explorers in the field. Conduct a number of lab experiments to learn about the physical characteristics of soil, then go outside and sample soil in 3 different locations, across the Scanlon Creek property. 

Habitats & Communities

Grades: 4
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, 9, 10, 11, 12​
Length: half day
Seasons: all

There is art in nature, and nature in art. Nature has inspired famous works of art for centuries by providing textures, colours and shapes from the natural world. Come out and work with our digital cameras during this extraordinary program. Dabble in the principles and elements of art and use the cameras to create a masterpiece.

Insect Investigations (formerly Hug-A-Bug)

Grades: K, 1, 2, 3
Length: half day
Seasons: fall and spring
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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, 9, 10, 12
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, 9, 10, 11, 12
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

Grades: K
Length: full day
Seasons: fall and spring
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This program uses the make believe world of Gnomes living at Scanlon Creek, to help children connect to various aspects of the different 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, ​music and treasures. This will also offer a creative means to learn about the lives, food and homes of other living things at Scanlon Creek, 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". 
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Loose Parts Play

Grades: K - 1
Length: half day
Seasons: all
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Come bring your students for an unstructured journey, full of excitement, curiosity, imagination and wonder. Using natural materials of all sorts, with little to no set of instructions, students will play and guide themselves through stations that focus on: art, music, math, literacy, physical education and inquiry. Watch them wonder, and the amazement of unstructured play take shape in this truly engaging program.

Lost!

Grad​es: 5, 6, 7, 8
Length: half day
Seasons: all
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Students learn what to do when they are lost, using the STOP method. They then work in a group and construct a shelter to contain their group's heat and cope with the elements. Students will learn about fire safety, the fire triangle, and then watch a real fire being lit. This program excels at promoting group problem solving and co-operation, as participants work together to accomplish their goals. ​​​

Nature Scavenger Hunt​

​Grad​es: K, 1
Length: half day
​Seasons: all ​

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Students will participate in an exciting scavenger hunt that requires them to use a map, legend and compass to find secret locations around Scanlon Creek. At each location, they will complete a nature-related challenge in order to earn a puzzle piece. The challenges will have students exploring local birds, plants, animals and seasonal changes. Once they have collected all their puzzle pieces a secret message is revealed that will help them unlock the final prize.​

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
Length: half day
Seasons: all

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. 

Power of Plants

Grades: 3, 4
Length: half day
Seasons: fall and spring
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Students will learn about the variety of plants on the planet, and how they all have adaptations that make them well suited to their habitats and ecosystems. Students will explore our many uses for plants, and investigate some of the impacts that humans are having on the plant world within the Lake Simcoe Watershed.  Using our field guides, dichotomous keys and technology, students will work to identify plant species based on: leaf shape, colour, textures and other characteristics. Invasive species, species at risk and human effects will be introduced and discussed as part of this interactive, hands-on program.

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, 9, 11
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Through games, activities and observations in a variety of ecosystems, students will learn that ecosystems consist 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.

Sensing for Survival
Grades: K, 1
Length: half day
Seasons: all
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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 observe and discuss their similarities and differences. By exploring the diversity of the animal kingdom, students will learn how different animals see, hear, smell, taste, feel, and how they use their senses to find food and survive.
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​Snowshoeing

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

Snowshoeing is an incredibly fun and active way to take your students outside during winter. A brief history of snowshoes and their importance to many people around the world, past and present, will be explored, before heading out on a hike to explore the many wonders of winter found within the Scanlon Creek property.  

Species at Risk

Grades: 6, 7, 9
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.

Teambuilding 101
Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 
Length: half day
Season: all

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. 

Tree Orienteering

Grades: 6, 7, 9
Length: half day
Season: all
 
Students will be introduced to the incredibly fun world of tree identification through this interactive map based program. Using a map, compass and dichotomous key, students travel the Scanlon Creek property in an orienteering challenge and identify different tree species by leaf shape, needle bundles, or bark characteristics. At the end of this program, students have a greater understanding of the different tree species found in the Lake Simcoe Watershed, and their important role within our ecosystems.

Water Quality Indicators

Grades: 7, 8, 9, 11
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 and certain chemicals. Students will collect water from Scanlon Creek to perform both physical and biological tests. This includes testing for chemicals and looking for certain aquatic life. By referring to the benthic chart and the chemical result sheet, students will be able to assess the water quality of Scanlon Creek.

Web of Life

Grades: 4, 6, 7
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

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 and survive in their own habitats. ​Programs booked in April, May or June will highlight the myriad of wildflowers that thrive at Scanlon Creek, 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

Grade: K
Length: half day
Seasons: fall and spring (water level dependent)
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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!

What's Your App-titude

Grades: 7, 9, 11
Length: half day
Seasons: all

Who says you can’t incorporate technology and the great outdoors? Students will learn about the important role of citizen science and nature based apps in this exciting hand-on program. I-Naturalist, E-bird, Project Feeder Watch, Seek and a variety of other apps, will be introduced and allow students to practice their identification skills of the natural world. At the end of the program, students will be able to contribute important data, to various citizen science programs, while leaving with a greater understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

Winter Walkers

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