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Bill Mason Centre Programs

Bill Mason Centre is an 72 acre outdoor classroom on the west side of the City of Ottawa which it’s primary focus to provide an opportunity to Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and non-OCDSB students to explore, experience, appreciate and learn about natural science and outdoor activities in an outdoor setting.

The centre was named after Bill Mason.  Bill Mason was an award-winning Canadian naturalist, author, artist, filmmaker, and conservationist. He is noted primarily for his popular canoeing, books, films, and paintings.

 
Attention OCDSB grade 3 and 7 classes - your field trip is free!

"Please see program list below on which programs are free (ESA)"

To book a program at The Bill Mason Centre, please follow these steps:

1. Phone our office (613 833-2080) for available dates.
2. Download, print and complete the Program Booking Request Form
.
3. Fax the completed form to 613 833-0770.

Once your form is received, your tentative booking has been made. The booking will be secured once we have received your 25% nonrefundable deposit. Please be sure to carefully read the important notes on the Booking Request Form

When conditions permit, all Natural Science, Canadian History and Outdoor Skills programs will be done on snowshoes.

Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten
Natural Science
This full day program includes a Forest Exploration and either a Wetland Exploration or Insect Study. Students will have the opportunity to use their senses to investigate through free explorations, focused exploration, and guided animal dramatizations and forest games. Students will use their senses to explore and discover some of the amazing creatures and plants that live in various ecosystems at MacSkimming. This program is offered from September to November and April to June. 

Grade 1 Programs 
Natural Science - Characteristics and Needs of Living Things
This full day program includes a Forest Exploration and either a Wetland Exploration or Insect Study. In each of these activities students will have the opportunity to discover some of the amazing creatures that live in various ecosystems at the BMC, why they are important and how they manage to survive. Instructors will lead activities and explorations that will help students to understand key terms such as habitat, adaptation, life cycles, and others. Available in fall and spring.

Grade 2 Programs
Natural Science - Growth and Change in Animals
This full day program includes a Forest Exploration, and one of Wetland Exploration, and Insect Study. Through hands on activities and investigations, students will gain further understanding that animals have distinct characteristics, that they grow and change, and that there are similarities and differences among different kinds of animals. This extremely active program is available fall and spring.

Grade 3 Programs 
Natural Science - Growth and Change in Plants with Soils in the Environment (ESA)
In this full day program, students explore and discover the world of plants and soils. Students will dig down to discover horizons and biotic and abiotic components of soil, and learn about decomposition and the importance of soil to an ecosystem.  In the second half of the day, students will learn about plants – how they grow, their importance and the many ways their seeds travel. Available in fall and spring

Outdoor Skills - Wayfinding With Maps (ESA)
Let us introduce your students to the basics of map reading, recognizing landmarks and orienting a map. Students will problem-solve in small groups in order to find their way around the school yard and forest trails.
Available in fall and spring

Grade 4 Programs
Natural Science - Habitats and Communities
Habitats and Communities includes Predator Prey and one of Forest Explore, Wetland Exploration or Insect Studies. During the Predator and Prey simulation, students play the role of local forest animals trying to survive. Students are required to find food, water and shelter all the while avoiding predators who are also looking for a good meal. This extremely active program allows students the opportunity to better understand terms such as habitat, predator, prey, herbivore, omnivore, carnivore, food chain, and population. During a Forest Explore, Wetland Explore and Insect Study, students will be lead through Bill Mason Centre's natural areas to learn about plants and animal’s interdependence on each other, human’s impact on natural areas, and key terms reinforced in Predator and Prey.
Available in fall and spring.

Outdoor Skills -Wayfinding with Maps
Students will have the opportunity to learn and practice compass navigation through a progression of activities culminating in the navigation maze. In the second half of the day, the students will enhance their survival skills by learning how to build fires and/or shelters. Available in fall and spring

Cross-Country Skiing
This full day program starts with an introduction to classic style cross-country skiing in the morning. The afternoon will be spent skiing along our groomed trail system. Ski equipment is provided. Available in February.

Cross-country Skiing with Winter Ecology

This popular program provides students with the opportunity to get out and experience the splendour of winter. Tracking, identifying habitats and discovering the diversity within ecosystems is done while skiing and snowshoeing. Available in February only.

Grade 5 Programs
Outdoor Skills - Wayfinding with Maps
Students will have the opportunity to learn and practice compass navigation through a progression of activities culminating in the navigation maze. In the second half of the day, the students will enhance their survival skills by learning how to build fires and/or shelters. Available in fall and spring.

Cross-country Skiing
This full day program starts with an introduction to classic style cross-country skiing in the morning. The afternoon will be spent skiing along our groomed trail system. Ski equipment is provided. This program is available in February only.

Cross-country Skiing with Winter Ecology
This popular program provides students with the opportunity to get out and experience the splendour of winter. Tracking, identifying habitats and discovering the diversity within ecosystems is done while skiing and snowshoeing. Available in February only

Canadian History - First Contact in the New World
In this active program, students will be introduced to ways in which the early explorers influenced the First Nations of the (now) Ottawa area and vice-versa. Students will also be given the opportunity to further understand lifestyle and history of the Algonkin or Algonquin First Nations. An interactive Fur Trade simulation activity is part of this program and focuses  particularly on the First Nations role in Canadian history. Other activities include a guided hike (on snowshoes when conditions permit). This program is available fall, winter and spring.

Grade 6 Programs
Natural Science - Biodiversity and Classification
This full day program includes two of “Classify Me”, “Forest Explore” and “Insect Studies”. Classify Me is an active tree identification program in which students make their way through the forest (with maps) looking for specially marked trees. Once they find the trees, it is their job to use a dichotomous key to identify them. The grade 6 Forest Explore, Wetland Exploration and Insect Study focus on classification, biodiversity, interrelationships, vertebrate vs. invertebrates and invasive species. All three programs are highly active and interactive within the various ecosystems. Available in fall and spring.

Outdoor Skills - Wayfinding with Maps
Students will have the opportunity to learn and practice compass navigation through a progression of activities culminating in the navigation maze. In the second half of the day, the students will enhance their survival skills by learning how to build fires and/or shelters. Available in fall and spring.

Cross-country Skiing
This full day program starts with an introduction to classic style cross-country skiing in the morning. The afternoon will be spent skiing along our groomed trail system. Ski equipment is provided. 
Available in February only.

Cross-country Skiing with Winter Ecology

This popular program provides students with the opportunity to get out and experience the splendour of winter. Tracking, identifying habitats and discovering the diversity within ecosystems is done while skiing and snowshoeing. Available in February only.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                            

Grade 7 Programs
Natural Science - Interactions within Ecosystems (ESA)

This program includes Predator and Prey and either a Forest Explore, Wetland Explore or Insect Study. We key on discovery and importance of biotic and abiotic elements of various ecosystems through guided exploration. The grade 7 Predator and Prey simulation focuses heavily on producers, consumers and decomposers in addition to food webs and populations. This program is available fall and spring.

Cross-country Skiing with Winter Ecology
This popular program provides students with the opportunity to get out and experience the splendour of winter. Tracking, identifying habitats and discovering the diversity within ecosystems is done while skiing and snowshoeing. Available in February only.

Canadian History - Fur Trader (ESA)
This trading simulation activity takes place on and around Bill Mason Centre's trails. Students will play the role of over-wintering 
voyageurs newly hired by the Northwest Company in the early 1800’s. They will re-enact history by trading with local Aboriginal peoples for furs in order to purchase supplies at Fort William for the long journey home to Montreal. The Fur Trade program also includes a guided hike that focuses on traditional uses of the land for medicine and food. This program is available in fall and spring.

Team Building
Through a progressive series of teambuilding challenges, students will experience and assess key interpersonal skills such as leadership, trust, cooperation, initiative, and communication. This full day program is designed to develop self confidence, self esteem, group skills and friendships.
Special ratio: 1 Centre Instructor to 15 students 
This program is available in fall and spring.

Grade 8 Programs
Outdoor Skills - Navigation with Map and Compass
Students will learn how to use a map and compass effectively. They will learn to take bearings through a variety of compass activities then travel the forest trails and put their new skills to use. This program is available in fall and spring.

Cross-country Skiing

This full day program starts with an introduction to classic style cross-country skiing in the morning. The afternoon will be spent skiing along our groomed trail system. Ski equipment is provided. Available in February only.

Cross-country Skiing with Winter Ecology

This popular program provides students with the opportunity to get out and experience the splendour of winter. Tracking, identifying habitats and discovering the diversity within ecosystems is done while skiing and snowshoeing. Available in February only.

Team Building
Through a progressive series of teambuilding challenges, students will experience and assess key interpersonal skills such as leadership, trust, cooperation, initiative, and communication. This full day program is designed to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, group skills and friendships.
Special ratio: 1 Centre Instructor to 15 students 
This program is available in fall and spring.

Grade 9 Programs
Natural Science - The Sustainability of Ecosystems
This full day program includes Ecological Field Studies and Predator and Prey. It will introduce students to scientific data collection techniques in the field and allow them to discover through hands-on experience the diversities of life in a forest. The grade 9 Predator and Prey simulation provides students with opportunity for further understand bioaccumulation, biomass, community and human threats to local ecosystems. This program is available fall and spring.

Cross-country Skiing
This full day program starts with an introduction to classic style cross-country skiing in the morning. The afternoon will be spent skiing along our groomed trail system. Ski equipment is provided. Available in February only.

Cross-country Skiing with Winter Ecology
This popular program provides students with the opportunity to get out and experience the splendour of winter. Tracking, identifying habitats and discovering the diversity within ecosystems is done while skiing and snowshoeing. Available in February only.

Team Building
Through a progressive series of teambuilding challenges, students will experience and assess key interpersonal skills such as leadership, trust, cooperation, initiative, and communication. This full day program is designed to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, group skills and friendships.
Special ratio: 1 Centre Instructor to 15 students
Available in fall and spring

Grade 10, 11, 12 Programs
Outdoor Skills - Navigation with Map and Compass
Students will learn how to use a map and compass effectively. They will learn to take bearings through a variety of compass activities then travel the forest trails and put their new skills to use. This program is available in fall and spring.

Cross-country Skiing

This full day program starts with an introduction to classic style cross-country skiing in the morning. The afternoon will be spent skiing along our groomed trail system. Ski equipment is provided. Available in February.

Cross-country Skiing with Winter Ecology

This popular program provides students with the opportunity to get out and experience the splendour of winter. Tracking, identifying habitats and discovering the diversity within ecosystems is done while skiing and snowshoeing. Available in February only.

 

Contact Us

Address: 

3635 Highway 174
Ottawa, ON
K4C 1G9 

Program Fees

OCDSB Classes
Junior and Senior Kindergarten: $180 per class of up to 30 students per day

Grades# 1, 2, 3: $175 per class of up to 25 students per day

Grades# 4+: $200 per class of up to 30 students per day
*Team building special ratio program rates: $180 per group of up to 15 students per day.

Non-OCDSB Classes
Grades JK-12: $255 per class of up to 30 students per day

*Team building special ratio program rates: $255 per group of up to 15 students per day

Overnight Rates (OCDSB and non-OCDSB Classes)
$200 per Field Centre per night.

Please see Facilities and Rentals page for Field Centre descriptions and, contact our office to discuss which overnight accommodations are best for your group.

The "Every Student Attends" program for OCDSB Grade 3 and 7 classes is still scheduled for the 2017-2018 school year!

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