LEADS: Nature-Based Programs for Secondary Students

The Riverwood Conservancy’s LEADS (Leadership in Environmental Achievements through Diversity and Skills) program takes secondary students outdoors virtually or in person to learn about local habitats, conduct field research, gain leadership skills, and form foundations for careers in science and environmental conservation.

LEADS programs are suitable for science, biology, geography, and math courses. Retreat in Nature programs are suitable for health and physical education and religion courses. Our programs encourage students to celebrate the benefits of spending time outdoors for learning, physical fitness, and mental wellness, all while respecting Indigenous peoples’ ways of knowing the land.

Programs support students in gaining a greater understanding of the local environment through careful observation and field research, all while building technical and leadership skills needed to prepare them for careers in science or geography.

“Everything school-related is now on computers so it's nice to intimately learn about biodiversity.” - Grade 11 Biology Student and LEADS Participant

Virtual LEADS Programs 

Because of COVID-19, in-person nature education programs may not be permitted by your school board. These restrictions haven’t changed the fact that students can benefit from learning about the environment and connecting with nature. We’ve adapted our environmental education programs to create engaging virtual sessions that can be delivered live to schools.

Our virtual sessions can be hosted on The Riverwood Conservancy’s Zoom account or a school’s preferred platform (Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc.).

Virtual Geography Field Trip

Guided by an instructor, students examine Riverwood’s geography from three perspectives: geology and landforms, biodiversity, and human interactions with the land. Students will be asked to make an informed recommendation about the future of our natural space. Should land use at Riverwood stay the same, focus more on conservation, or move towards urban development? Students will participate in interactive elements.

Virtual Sustainability of the Credit River

Students virtually visit the Credit River to collect data on the properties of water and benthic macroinvertebrates through video and interactive activities. Learn about the impact of stormwater on the area, local aquatic food chains and webs, positive and negative human impacts and volunteer opportunities.

Suitable for Grade 9 SCN 1D/1P

Virtual Retreat in Nature

Through images, video, and storytelling, visit the beautiful nature trails of Riverwood to learn about local wildlife. We’ll explore ways to enjoy the outdoors safely and how to be good stewards of the environment.

Suitable for Healthy Active Living Education Courses, Catholic School Religious Retreats and after school clubs

Virtual Trigonometry Field Trip

Visit Riverwood virtually to learn how to calculate a tree’s height on flat ground using videos and an online worksheet. Students will learn about real-world applications of trigonometry. This program includes synchronous class instruction, including interactive activities. Students complete a simple assignment during the program. Student comments and an answer key will be provided to the teacher after the program.

Suitable for Grade 10 MPM 2P/2D

Code of Online Conduct

The Riverwood Conservancy is committed to making every reasonable effort to provide a safe and accommodating atmosphere for all participants of our online programs. By booking a TRC Virtual Education Program, you agree that all session participants will abide by our Code of Online Conduct. Please note that sessions cannot be recorded without the express consent of The Riverwood Conservancy. Additional fees may apply to recorded sessions.

In-Person LEADS Programs

Our popular on-site programs at Riverwood have been adapted for safety, educational value and enjoyment. Programs are outdoors and equipment is sanitized daily. Mask wearing is optional but encouraged when physical distancing is not possible.

Hike the Curriculum – Geography Focus

Bring your geography class to Riverwood for the wellness benefits of outdoor learning in nearby nature. On this two-hour, all-outdoor, socially-distanced, guided hike, students will visit varied habitats, see rock types, fossils, land forms, and erosion evidence. Students will learn about how human activities have changed the land and consider future land use strategy for the site. Students can test out mobile phone navigation apps, and learn about shared responsibilities to the land, conservation initiatives, and opportunities to earn community involvement hours at Riverwood.

Hike the Curriculum – Science Focus

Bring your science or biology class to Riverwood for the wellness benefits of outdoor learning in nearby nature. On this two-hour, all-outdoor, socially-distanced, guided hike, students will visit varied terrestrial and aquatic habitats, see diverse life including pollinators, birds and mammals, and learn about the effects of climate change and COVID-19 on the land. Students learn about and test out mobile phone apps for individual, group or “community science” data collection. Students will learn about shared responsibilities to the land including respectful monitoring methods, conservation initiatives, and opportunities to earn community involvement hours at Riverwood.

Retreat in Nature Guided Hike

Bring your class to Riverwood to experience the wellness benefits of being in nearby nature. On this two-hour, all-outdoor, socially-distanced, guided hike, students will visit forest and river habitats and beautiful gardens. They will see diverse and abundant wildlife and have the chance to hand-feed wild birds. Students will learn outdoor safety tips and fun activities they can do on their own at Riverwood. Students will learn about shared responsibilities to the land including conservation initiatives and opportunities to earn community involvement hours.

Trigonometry Outdoors at Riverwood

Bring your grade 10 math class to Riverwood for the wellness benefits of outdoor learning in nearby nature. On this two-hour, all-outdoor, socially-distanced program, students will visit gardens and forest areas to collect data to allow for calculation of tree height and biomass on level ground and on a slope. Students will learn about shared responsibilities to the land, conservation initiatives, and opportunities to earn community involvement hours at Riverwood.

Program Fees

We strive to make LEADS programs accessible to all school groups by offering a pay-what-you-can (PWYC) structure. Your financial support will help keep our environmental education programs going strong through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Suggested PWYC fees for LEADS programs are:

• $60 for one-hour virtual programs
• $120 for half-day, in-person programs

These low suggested fees are made possible by the generous financial support of the Suncor Energy Foundation, NSERC PromoScience, and Weston Forest.

If the suggested fees are a barrier to your class or group accessing LEADS programs, please contact our Education Program Manager, Catherine Wassmansdorf.