Nature & Beauty – Field Studies Programme

Fern Hill School’s Burlington Campus sits on 22 acres of green space, including forest, stream, marsh and meadow. Inspired by this diverse habitat, our Field Studies Programme has been designed to connect students to their natural world.

Nurturing an innate sense of wonder

Beginning with Preschool students, the Primary Programme focuses on nurturing an innate sense of wonder by integrating nature into daily activities. Through play, exploration and close investigation, students are empowered to learn new skills, build confidence and develop a passion for understanding nature’s patterns, ecological communities and plant and animal species.

Participating in on-site monitoring and restoration projects

Older students develop their field skills by participating in a variety of on-site monitoring and restoration projects including bird banding, engineering habitat, monitoring of Eastern Bluebird nesting boxes, creation of a Monarch butterfly way station and stewardship of our native species garden. In addition, Citizen Science projects including Fall and Winter bird counts, marsh monitoring, invertebrate counts and reptile inventories are part of this exciting programme. This engaging and relevant programming fosters in children a passion for the natural world, which in turn encourages enthusiasm for the academic component of the program, designed to develop problem solving, ingenuity and critical thinking.

Woods

Exciting natural partnerships

Fern Hill has forged several exciting partnerships with university researchers, conservation biologists and naturalists to develop our program to its full potential. Our fully functioning on-site bird banding laboratory was developed in conjunction with Rick Ludkin, a lifelong birder and naturalist, best known for his work as the founder of the bird banding program at Ruthven Park National Historic Site in York, Ontario (see Rick’s blog here).

Work is underway with Dr. Pat Chow Fraser  (Director of Life Sciences at McMaster) to develop a forest and stream-monitoring program and we’ve forged strong ties with Guelph University to study the impact of non-native invasive insect populations.

Our campus restoration and monitoring work has also been endorsed and supported by the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society, Conservation Halton and Tallgrass Ontario.

A program for all seasons

Our Field Studies Programme allows students to engage with nature throughout the seasons, as part of the weekly curriculum. These interactions become the staging ground for developing keen observation skills, curiosity, independence and a compassionate connection to the natural world.

We are very excited that our Field Studies Programme is connecting the next generation of conservationists, including inquisitive scientists, creative artists, social entrepreneurs and ingenious engineers, to connect with nature in rich, meaningful and transformative ways.

Come see us in the field …

If you would like to see our Field Studies Programme in action, please call us at 905-634-8652 to book a school tour during the bird migration season (April 1- June 1 or September 9 – November 1). We’re happy to share the wonder of a ‘bird-in-the-hand’ with you.

“An environment-based education movement — at all levels of education — will help students learn that school isn’t supposed to be a polite form of incarceration, but a portal to the wider world.”― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Don’t miss this! Visit CHCH Morning Live to watch our Fern Hill video!