The school year had a busy start back in the fall, with schools eager to finally come back to Dundas Valley Conservation Area. Most of the students participating in the program were out for their first field trip in at least three years, which added a level of excitement to the program! Lots of wildlife sightings for the students, with some notable favourites being deer, salamanders, and even a racoon on the very final day of programming in 2022.
The program slowed down during the winter, but the school year ended with an incredibly busy spring season, with approximately 2,300 students learning about nature in Dundas Valley from January to June. Overall, nearly 4,000 students participated in HCA’s Outdoor Environmental Education programming this school year.
In addition to delivering the program to the many students coming to Dundas Valley, program staff also had the opportunity to do in-school visits, develop new pilot programming in consultation with the school board, and remove invasive species from the teaching garden with the help of some keen grade 8 students. Program staff also participated in the Hamilton Children’s Water Festival this spring, working alongside high school volunteers to teach hundreds of grade 4 students about protecting aquatic ecosystems during the three days of the festival.
Now that summer has arrived, and the regular school programming is taking a break, program staff are busy delivering summer camp programming and planning for the 2023-24 school year.
It’s always great to receive feedback from teachers and students, and this note from Lake Avenue School is just one example of the impact the program has on the students:
“I just wanted to extend our sincere thanks for the funding our school receives for the transportation to Dundas Valley. The students were awed, overwhelmed, and super-excited. Our school is surrounded by the apartment buildings the students live in and this was a fabulous experience for them to be in an environment not man-made and concrete. (We go on very few trips, since we can’t ask the families for too much money, especially these days.)
We saw a deer! (Of course, the kids screamed in excitement…)
Please know how grateful we are for the funding to allow us these wonderful opportunities.”
This thank you extends to all the donors to the Foundation, without whom we wouldn’t be able to fund the program and provide transportation subsidies that bring the students to Dundas Valley. Your support is helping to ensure that the next generation of students continues to experience and learn about nature!