Twelve classes of low-income students will experience the natural world first hand – some for the very first time – thanks to a generous grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation is campaigning to help 50 disadvantaged classes access its outdoor education programs during the 2019/2020 school year. The grant of $9,420 from the Ottawa Community Foundation will cover tuition and transportation costs for 12 school groups from the city of Ottawa.
Each year, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority welcomes more than 10,000 elementary and secondary school students to its Outdoor Education programs at Baxter and Foley Mountain conservation areas. The curriculum-based sessions taught by certified teachers give students hands-on experiences in nature while they learn about natural science, our role in the natural world and how we can protect it.
But not all students can afford the same experiences as their peers; there are at least 37 priority schools in the Rideau Valley region where funding simply isn’t available for “extras” like outdoor education. Unfortunately, it’s these students who are often missing natural experiences the most: many of them are new to Canada or live in urban communities where walking among the trees, exploring a wetland or catching frogs is completely unknown to them. That’s where the Foundation and its generous donors come in.
There is a growing body of evidence that learning through outdoor active play has positive effects on a child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual health. More and more, children suffer from “nature deficit disorder” – a lack of connection with the natural world.
Staff use the Ministry of Education’s list of priority schools – determined based on national census income data – and work with local school boards directly to identify schools that would benefit from financial support to get their students outside and into nature.
For more information about the RVCA’s educational programs, visit www.rvca.ca/outdoor-education.
To support the Foundation’s conservation efforts, visit www.rvcf.ca.