There have been lots of little people visiting the Lorne C. Henderson Conservation Area this fall.
Outdoor Educators have been seeing a lot more school groups since the provincial government provided boards of education with about $20 million in funding specifically for outdoor education.
“We’re fully booked,” says Rick Battson, communications director of the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority which operates the Petrolia conservation area. Battson says a couple of years ago they were busy but there were some down times. “We have virtually every time slot booked now.”
Battson says the conservation authority doesn’t receive any of the funds but school boards approve the trips more readily because there is money available for bussing.
And he says the St. Clair Region’s outdoor classes are popular because they fit the Ontario curriculum. “Teachers like it because it is not just going out on trip, it is tied to the curriculum.”
Battson says going outside is a great way to learn. “The adults who come with the children to the classes tell us ‘What I remember from school I remember from coming here’ and that’s because it is about hands on learning and learning while they’re having fun.”