Now that school has resumed many students from the Upper Grand District School Board can now look forward to a visit at the Outdoor Educational Centre that is located at Island Lake Conservation Area. As a grade five teacher my three day visits to the centre for the Earthkeepers’ program was one of my highlights of the year. All students and teachers are required to have an earth name so I chose Silver Fox. Upon my retirement I have been volunteering at the Outdoor Ed Centre which is run by Lynn Picard (Loon) and her assistant Mandy Fox (Quartz).

Lynn and Mandy offer a variety of topics from September until school ends in June. The year begins with the grade eight Water/Character Education program which I have fortunately had the opportunity in participating as volunteer. Lynn and Mandy are now joined by CVC Educational staff in providing this program.

Earthkeeers is offered all year to grade five students. This highly beneficial program involves three consecutive days at the Centre. Students learn about the environment and earn their four Earthkeeper keys as they complete the various components of the program.

Grade six students participate in the Fur Trade program during the month of January. Lynn often has Nipissing college students to assist with this very active and challenging program. Students gain firsthand experience about what it was like to be a fur trader and how difficult the task of trapping and trading furs was back before Canada was civilized.

I have many fond memories of helping with the grade one Maple Syrup program which is offered during March and April when the sap is running. Students learn how our aboriginals discovered how to make maple sugar and how our pioneers through the use of cast iron kettles were able to make maple syrup. The grade ones are rewarded with tasting maple syrup that is made at the sugar shack plus they get to indulge in eating taffy.

Habit program is offered to grade four students who along with their teacher and parents love to participate in the full afternoon survival game. A game that comprises of carnivores, omnivores and herbivores who collectively must learn how to survive by finding food and water.