The Environmental Leadership Program offered at East Elgin Secondary School is a four credit course integrating senior level Interdisciplinary Studies, Physical Education (Outdoor Education) and Co-Operative Education.

Interdisciplinary Studies is a grade 12 university preparation course that integrates senior level subjects and disciplines. Emphasis is placed on Biology and Environmental Geography (Resource Management) with a focus on the ecological principles governing the functioning of natural ecosystems. Topics of study include Aquatic Ecology, Soil Ecology, Terrestrial Ecology, Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Principles and Practices in Forestry.

Outdoor Education provides instruction both in the classroom and in the field. Studies and activities are designed to increase outdoor recreation and environmental participation. First Aid/CPR, trip planning, wilderness survival, orienteering and other related topics will help prepare students for the outdoors. Introducing students to many new activities and experiences not only leads to a healthier lifestyle but to a healthier environment.

Students participate in the following off-campus trips each year:

  • A 5 day canoe trip in Algonquin Park
  • A 4 day trip to the Haliburton Forest where students participate in rock climbing, high ropes, orienteering and mountain biking
  • A 4 day field study at Northern Wilderness Outfitters Education Centre where students are introduced to bear management, moose management, fur bearer management, forestry management and fisheries management
  • A2 day downhill and cross country ski trip to Horseshoe Valley or Mount St. Louis Moonstone
  • A 4 day winter wilderness experience in Algonquin Park

Co-Operative Education involves work placements that are of an environmental nature. The Environmental Leadership Program runs in partnership with the Elgin County Stewardship Council and the Catfish Creek Conservation Authority. The success of the program is a direct result of the keen interest, participation and support of these agencies.

The ELP class in partnership with the Jaffa Outdoor Education Centre and Catfish Creek Conservation Authority held the 6th annual Marsh Quest Program. This interactive wetland education program was a huge success again this year. Over 500 grade 4 students from 18 different classes and 12 different schools took part in activities, demonstrations and presentations designed to stimulate their interest in the outdoors as well as their appreciation for the “Values of Wetlands”.

In 2010, Marsh Quest was nationally recognized by Ducks Unlimited Canada as a “Wetland Centre of Excellence” for our wetland program. In 2011 we won an international award from Ramsar, for “Schools Promoting the Sustainable Use of Wetland Resources”. The success of our program is a direct result of the financial support we receive from our sponsors!!!

This year was another fun and exciting year. Canoe tripping, mountain biking, rock climbing and repelling throughout Algonquin Park and the Haliburton Highlands along with the winter camping trip near North Bay were a few of our many highlights.

Once again, the Environmental Leadership Program helped organize the annual Carolinian Forest Festival held at the Jaffa Outdoor Education Centre and the Catfish Creek Conservation Authority. Activities and interactive displays provide an outdoor learning experience for students to learn about the Carolinian Life Zone. More than 1200 grade 5 and 6 students attended the 3 day festival.

We continued with our annual beach clean-up along the north shore of Lake Erie. Malahide Township, Bayham Township, Port Burwell Provincial Park, Aylmer Tirecraft, private landowners and the Environmental Leadership Program work together to help clean the beach between Port Burwell and Port Bruce.

This year the ELP class was one of just 12 schools in the province to take part in the National Archery in the Schools Program. This pilot program is supported and organized by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. NASP promotes international-style target archery as part of the in-school curriculum, to improve performance and participation in shooting sports among students in grades 4-12.

Throughout the semester the students are actively involved in various Co-operative work projects.

  • Stream rehabilitation and bank stabilization projects along Catfish Creek
  • Forest management projects on CCCA properties and private woodlots
  • Trail maintenance in Sinclair Wetland, Kebbel Wetland and Springwater Forest
  • Long Point Waterfowl- Wood duck study on Big Creek
  • Community tree nursery/tree planting program

Throughout the semester, students also take part in the following certification programs:

  • ORCKA Flat Water Tandem and Solo (canoe certification)
  • John’s Standard First Aid
  • John’s CPR Level “C”
  • Chainsaw Cutter Certification
  • Canadian Coast Guard Safe Boating Course
  • Ontario Hunter Apprentice Program

Indirectly, the opportunities and experiences provided by the Environmental Leadership Program enhance the student’s attitude toward the environment and the “Great Outdoors”. In many this attitude becomes a passion and they go on to further their education in the Environmental or Outdoor Recreational field at College or University. These students are our future conservationists and the key to a healthier future. The more activities and experiences that we can provide, the better chance we have at stimulating their interest.

Our trip expenses, busing costs, certifications and equipment purchases put our operating budget around $ 40 000.00.  Currently, student fees and fundraising events cover approximately two thirds of our expenses. It is my hope that we continue to receive local sponsorship and financial support needed to offer this program. For more information, visit our website at www.eastelginelp.ca or contact Duncan Sinclair at 519-773-3174.