Blair Outdoor Education Centre Field Trip Information

For the most current program descriptions see OEE Program Descriptions for 2022-2023

The following information can be found on this page.

  1. Family Letter
  2. Transportation Procedures
  3. Location
  4. Volunteers
  5. Preparing for the Excursion
  6. Cancellation due to Bad Weather
  7. WheelchairAccessibleTransportation
  8. All Terrain Wheelchair

1. Family Letter

In order to facilitate communication with parents and caregivers, feel free to make a copy of this OEE Field Trip Family Letter Template 2022-23. You will have to manually update your copy of the letter with information specific to your class and trip date.

2. Transportation Procedures

Busing costs for WRDSB Outdoor Education programs are covered by Learning Support Services and booking of buses have been organised by the OEE Department.

Do I need to book a bus?

No. In the past, schools were often responsible for booking buses for field trips to Outdoor Education Centres, however going forward the bus will be booked for you and paid out of central funds.

Teachers are required to complete the Off Campus Category 1 form with Principal permission, including the bus confirmation number, and submit to You will be notified when the bus confirmation number has been added to this letter.

Some of the taxidermy on display at Blair OEC.


3. Location

Where is the Environmental Education Centre?

Blair Outdoor Education Centre
82 Meadowcreek Lane
Cambridge ON N2J 2A9

4. Volunteers

You may bring as many parent volunteers as you wish (on the bus). Extra adults can help out in many ways. Please give volunteers as much information about the trip as possible, and outline specific responsibilities you may have for them. The WRDSB guidelines for field trips require a minimum supervisor ratio of:

  • 1:8 for primary
  • 1:10 for junior
  • 1:15 for intermediate
  • 1:20 for senior

Please note that the Outdoor Education Specialists are not factored into the ratio as they are focused on delivering the program.

Indigenous Land-Based Educator, Terre Chartrand shares teachings during a field trip program.

The expectations for the use of volunteers are outlined in AP 1415:
Principals shall ensure that all volunteers are screened, as appropriate.  Principals shall request appropriate references and ensure verification.  Volunteers who are in direct contact with students in a setting that is supervised by a staff member are not required to submit a police record check.

5. Preparing for the Excursion

Nutrition Break

Please instruct students to bring their reusable water bottle and lunchbox or backpack, as time will be allotted for nutrition break at the Outdoor Education Centre. Please encourage students to keep their waste to a minimum.

Is there a cost for the program?

No. Costs for the program and busing will be covered centrally.

Students learn from a large garter snake on a late fall program in 2022.

Is this program led by the WRDSB staff?

Yes, a WRDSB Outdoor and Environmental Education Specialist will be leading this program.

Setting the stage for a positive excursion experience

Please ensure that student safety is a priority. Classroom norms that exist in the school building are also in effect during outdoor learning opportunities. A positive way to begin a great learning experience is to review class norms, acceptable student choices and respectful behaviour agreements.

Materials and Equipment

Educators are welcome to capture the learning experience as they see fit (ipad, camera, note taking, etc). Any equipment required for the activity will be provided by the centre.

Name Tags

If classroom management may be a challenge, teachers are encouraged to ensure that students wear name tags. This will help facilitators and volunteers to engage in conversation.

What should students wear?

Students (also teachers and volunteers!!) must be dressed appropriately for the weather. Please ensure that this is communicated to families prior to the visit. PLEASE ensure that the students are properly dressed prior to loading on the bus. This might include warmer clothing in layers, warm hat, mitts/gloves, rain wear, rain or winter boots… or some combination of all of those. Long pants and socks/closed toed shoes are recommended for added protection from ticks during warmer weather (see below).

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Ticks are present in Waterloo Region and have been identified at some of our nature centre locations. Only Black-legged Ticks transmit Lyme disease. Waterloo Region is a low risk area for Lyme Disease. Centre staff will notify you if your program or location might increase the likelihood of encountering Black-legged ticks and what precautions might be taken. If students or parents are concerned please advise them to wear light, long sleeved shirts and pants that can be tucked into socks or boots. For more information please check the Waterloo Region Public Health Website.

6. Cancellation Due to Bad Weather

Trips are cancelled if schools are closed and/or buses are not running. In cases of extreme weather (heavy rain, extreme cold, high winds) we will communicate possible cancelation and/or possible rescheduling opportunities to you and the school administration approximately 24 hours in advance of the scheduled trip date. Due to high demand there may be limited opportunity for rescheduling.

7. Wheelchair Accessible Transportation

Please notify your Outdoor Education Specialist if wheelchair accessible transportation is required in addition to the regular bus transportation. This will also be arranged centrally.

8. All Terrain Wheelchair

If an all terrain wheelchair is required for a student in your class please connect with your school’s centralized Special Education contact person to make the arrangements.

Please see the information below that has been provided by one of our Special Education Consultants:

Typically students who require all terrain wheelchair access to an Outdoor Education centre would be connected with an orthopaedic itinerant teacher through an ortho referral through MDST. We do have some all terrain wheelchairs centrally available that can be accessed through the ortho itinerant team.

However, the AT wheelchairs vary in size and style – not all students are able to sit safely in the AT wheelchairs as they are typically less supportive than a student’s home-based wheelchair. The school arranging the trip should be connecting with the ortho itinerant well ahead of time to start the process of determining if there is something suitable to transfer out to a site for the class trip and to ensure that any necessary accommodations are made to the program to make it inclusive for the students. If an ortho itinerant referral has not been made for the student, the school would need to contact the School Liaison Consultant for the school to get next steps.

Program Outlines by Grade and Topic:

Gr 4 Pond Study Program Outline

Gr 4 Habitat Comparisons Program Outline

Gr 6 Invertebrate Diversity Program Outline

Gr 4-6 Mapping Program Outline

Gr 6 Compass Use Program Outline

Gr 4 Winter Birds Program Outline

Gr 6 Winter Biodiversity Program Outline

Not all program outlines are available here as some are being updated for the current school year.

If you have any questions or concerns, please be sure to contact me by email or by phone.