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School Programs: Grades 1 – 8

Our Elementary programs aim to inspire curiosity, discovery, and connection in a natural setting. Through games, explorations, and discussions, students learn about the importance of healthy natural spaces, and their place within them!

  • Two-hour outdoor programs
  • Up to 30 students per group
  • Grades 1 to 3: 1 free adult per 4 students
  • Grades 4 to 8: 1 free adult per 5 students

Primary/Junior/Intermediate Science

The RBG Arboretum has natural surprises around every corner, every week of the year! Whether taking in the fall colours, tracking deer through the snow, or discovering spring flowers, this general nature tour will allow students to connect with the forests, fields, and fauna in RBG’s forests and gardens. This half-day program can be tailored to complement desired curricula upon request.

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Not available at this time due to COVID Regulations

The RBG Fishway is a sight to see! Students will see this amazing conservation tool in action with an up-close look at the fish that pass through. Our biologists explain the function of the Fishway, and our interpreters help students understand the history and importance of Cootes Paradise Marsh. This program takes place at our Princess Point location.

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*Special Program

Bright, noisy and active, birds are a great way to get students excited about the wonders of nature. This hike-based program takes kids outside to encounter some of RBG’s feathered inhabitants, and learn about their biology and natural history. 

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*Special Program

Out on the trails, we are surrounded by living things! Through games and open explorations, students will discover the ways in which organisms survive in nature and how humans fit into the natural world. Students learn what defines a living thing and what all life needs to survive.

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RBG is home to incredible animals of all kinds! Though they may be different, they all share some important things in common. This program explores what defines an animal, and how they grow and survive. Lots of time is spent outside in search of wild creatures and the signs they leave behind!

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RBG’s natural spaces are home to hundreds of plant and animal species, all of which depend on clean air and water to survive. Students will meet pond and forest life face-to-face during an exploration hike, and learn about the importance of air and water to all living things.

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All around the world plants grow, change and are affected by the environment around them. This program uses interactive instruction, games, a hike and a seed-planting activity to help students learn about the characteristics of plants and our dependence upon them.

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Soil is the foundation of nearly all terrestrial ecosystems. Students should be ready to get their hands dirty as they delve into the world beneath their feet! During this outdoor program, they will explore the properties of soil, search for tiny soil-dwellers, and learn about the important role healthy soil plays as part of the natural environment.

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Not available at this time due to COVID Regulations

The Niagara Escarpment provides a wealth of opportunities to learn about rocks, minerals, and the natural processes that shape our landscape. Indoors, students conduct a series of short experiments to determine the identity of unknown rock samples. Outdoors, they observe the effects of time and weather on the rocks that make up our local environment.

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A habitat is much more than just where an organism lives. In this program, students explore various plant and animal habitats here at RBG, their components, and how the organisms depend on each other. Students also consider their own habitat needs, and how they compare to those of other living things.

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RBG provides critical habitat for many species at risk, and this program examines why they are in danger and what RBG is doing to help. Through active simulations and investigation, students gain an appreciation of these precious organisms and learn how they can help. Students may even encounter some of these rare plants and animals as we explore the trails and wetlands of RBG!

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It’s hard to imagine a better place to explore biodiversity than here at RBG! Through hands-on exploration, students study the biodiversity of a local forest, field, or wetland, and relate it to ecosystem health and examine the impacts that humans can have on the environment.

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Everything in nature is connected, and in this program students take a close look at those connections. By exploring food webs, cycles, mutualism, parasitism and other local examples, students examine interactions in nature and how human interactions can be both negative and positive.

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Not available at this time due to COVID Regulations

What better way to learn about animal survival than to become one? With our Arboretum as their playing field, students are challenged to think strategically as they take on the role of an animal seeking the basic necessities for survival. Students will run, hide, and learn first-hand about the natural and human obstacles which animals face every day.

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Cross-Curricular – Arts/Language/Social Studies and Science Programs

Designed in collaboration with Anishnaabe elders, this program takes students on an interpretive hike that highlights the traditional and current uses of a variety of native plants. A cross-curricular and authentic experience that will make you see the forest in a completely new way!

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Using nature as both muse and medium, students unleash their creativity in this visual arts program. Following an inspirational walk on the trails, students will apply the Creative Process to create artwork which represents grade-appropriate connections to the Life Systems strand of Science. A hands-on, collaborative program that encourages students to build personal connections to the natural world.

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Not available at this time due to COVID Regulations

From cave paintings to oil on canvas, nature has provided inspiration to artists for millennia. Using the gardens and natural lands of RBG, students receive classroom instruction and use our watercolour kits to create their own works of art. A plein-air painting session (weather-dependant) caps off the program.

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*Special Program

Physical Education, Team Building, and Leadership

Working together, a small group of people can achieve anything they put their minds to. Led by our facilitators, our teambuilding activities are designed to build communication skills and develop trust, all the while being challenged to think as a unit. This is a fun and exciting way to bring your class together at any point in the school year!

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Looking for a way to get your class or group thinking and working as a team? These challenges help students develop leadership, communication, problem-solving skills, and teamwork. Challenges involve simulations and role-playing both on and off the ground. Warm-up activities prepare the group for the challenges and debriefing discussions help students apply the outcomes to everyday life.

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*Special Program

Exhibit and Holiday Programs

Check back for seasonal programming!

Self-Guided Exploration

Come explore the gardens or trails with your class. The Arboretum offers trails through the forest down to the shoreline of Coote’s Paradise Marsh with great opportunities for bird watching.

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Come explore the gardens with your class. Hendrie Park has beautiful flower beds, a Natural Playground, and a vegetable village for your students to explore.

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2020–2021 School Program Fees

RBG accepts cash, cheque, debit, VISA, MasterCard, and American Express. Invoicing is available upon request.