The AHC has always recognized the need to further our understanding of natural systems and to transfer this knowledge to current and future generations. The Algoma Highlands are a living classroom—an excellent site where ecological concepts and conservation biology can be learned and observed first hand. In addition, much of the area immediately adjacent to the King Mountain site contains ideal locations for conducting and demonstrating ground-breaking scientific research related to wildlife biology, sustainable resource management, and ecological restoration.
“The Environmental Education program brings classroom learning to life.“Algoma District School Board Teachers
The Algoma Highlands, which are a mere 20 minute drive from the “Twin Saults”, are nearby three post-secondary academic institutions, as well as many local elementary and secondary schools. As such, the area affords excellent opportunities to provide direct outdoor educational experiences and thus significant “added value” to standard school curricula.
In 2011, a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation enabled the AHC to hire an Environmental Education Coordinator (EEC) to develop and formalize the AHC’s environmental education programs. Since then, our EEC has worked diligently to form partnerships with local scientists, schools and volunteers in order to develop a long-term, self-sustaining environmental education program. Our EEC has fostered an excellent rapport with all local Algoma District School Boards schools and has created high-quality onsite and offsite environmental education programs with direct links to Kindergarten-grade 12 curriculum. Additionally, there have been multiple elementary, secondary and post-secondary school visits, furthering the AHC’s aim to connect people of all ages and backgrounds to the natural environment and inspire them to be good stewards of this ecologically sensitive land. Students travel to the AHC to engage in day long field trips, which focus on four learning areas of Soil Ecology, Stream Ecology, Forest Ecology, and Wildlife Ecology. Through hands-on activities in the soil pit, surrounding forest and within Stokely Creek, students will have the opportunity to explore and learn from the natural environment and connect this learning to the Ontario curriculum in a meaningful way.
“Not only do my students get to make real-life connections to their studies, but they also get a taste of all the fun you can have outdoors!”Algoma District School Board Teachers
Recently, our EEC has taken on the challenge of coordinating the Algoma District’s Envirothon, a unique team competition that encourages high school students to get outdoors and increase their understanding of forests, soils, wildlife, aquatic ecosystems, and human impact on the environment. The activity workshops and final competition are accomplished in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Canada, City of Sault Ste. Marie, Sault College, Clean North, Clergue Forest Management, and the Algoma District School Board.