Canadian Ecology Centre - Breakaway 2017

Shantel Clark, Science Teacher and Department Head
The Grade 9 students travelled to the Canadian Ecology Centre this week on their Breakaway Trip. Located in Calvin, Ontario, and associated with Samuel de Champlain Park, this centre was our home for three days and two nights. The warm and sunny weather and crystal clear night skies provided a perfect playground for all the activities and adventures the students took part in.

There were five different activities that the students took part in over the three days: canoeing, ecology games, GPS tracking, forestry and field ecology, and a stream study. On top of all this, students had a choice to also participate in a nature hike, biking, Indigenous games and crafts, wilderness survival skills, and frisbee golf.

There were many different highlights from the trip, including learning a variety of curriculum expectations for the Grade 9 science course. In particular, every student who participated in the stream study had the opportunity to collect insects from the benthic layer of a nearby stream and figure out both abundance and diversity of the species they collected. Students learned how to use a dichotomous key to identify microscopic larvae and small insects, all the while knee deep in the stream sporting rubber boots!

Our evenings were busy around a campfire, learning to drum, and listening for creatures of the night. We also explored the night sky with a high-powered telescope. We were even lucky enough see the rings of Saturn! The Canadian Ecology Centre was the ideal place for students to learn by doing, all the while getting to know their fellow classmates in Grade 9.