Skip Ribbon Commands

Outdoor Education

    OCDSB > Programs > Programs for all ages > Outdoor Education
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board owns and operates two Outdoor Education Centres; MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre in Ottawa’s east end, and the Bill Mason Centre in the west. Both Centres provide high quality, hands-on outdoor programming that is designed and delivered to compliment classroom learning in many sections of the Ontario Curriculum. Each visiting group is introduced to the beauty of the natural world, and our place in it. Learn more by checking out our

With this Spring and Summer having a good population of bugs, the OCDSB Outdoor Centres strongly enourage all visitors to wear long pants, long socks amd a hat, when they attend the Centres. The forest is very wet so water-proof footwear is also recommended.

Contact Us

Mail: OCDSB Outdoor Education Centres, 3635 Highway 174, Ottawa, ON, K4C 1G9 (Map and Directions)
Phone: 613-833-2080; Fax: 613-833-0770; Email









 Visitor FAQs


Teacher Resources

Frequently Asked Questions
by students, teachers, and parents.

Select the site which you will be visiting.

 - Bill Mason Outdoor Education Centre
- Macskimming Outdoor Education Centres




 Facilities & Rentals


Facilities and Rentals 

MacSkimming's facilities are available to rent on weekends and during the summer off-season. The sites are perfect for weekend retreats, summer programming, and camps. Pleases see our new 2015 rental fees effective September 1, 2015 and Facility Rental and Release Form

All groups renting MacSkimming facilites must present proof of Commercial General Liability coverage in an amount not less than $2,000,000 per occurrence, including endorsements or other coverages appropriate to the activities. Such coverage shall not exclude injury to participants.


The Pioneer Village


MacSkimming's Pioneer Village, nestled in the Centre of MacSkimming's 400 acres, consists of the Village Inn, 5 Rustic sleeping cabins and Galloway House. Buildings were originally built in the 1880's and are of log and mortar construction. Please click here for photos and facility details.


Trail's End


Trail's End site consists of Trail's End Lodge, Osborne House and Tamarack Dorm. It is beautifully situated at the south side of MacSkimming with excellent access to walking trails, and an open field for large-group games. Trail's End is a terrific spot for scout and guide weekend camps.
Click here for additional photos and facility





MacSkimming Hosts University of Ottawa Universiy


Macskimming Outdoor Education Centre annually hosts about 200 preservice teachers from Ottawa University's Faculty of Education. This visit is to introduce to student teachers the importance of Outdoor Education within the educational system.



Eastern Ontario Regional Envirothon

This past Spring, the OCDSB Outdoor Education Centre hosted the 2014 Eastern Ontario Regional Envirothon. The Evirothon is a unique team competition that rewards secondary students for learning about the natural world around them. Local conservation organizations partner to provide students with interactive hands-on workshops to help them understand forests, soils, wildlife, and aquatic ecosystems. Ashbury College, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School, Cairine Wilson Secondary School, Earl of March Secondary School, Nepean High School and Woodroffe High School participated in the event.

Ashbury College won the title of winning team of the Eastern Ontario Regional Envirothon and moved  on to the Provincial Envirothon at Sir Sandford Fleming College, where they came in second place. 

Special thank you to Agriculture Canada, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Trees Canada, Ontario Forestry Association, Michael Harrison, Our Little Farm and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board's Curriculum and Facilities department for their help with this event. The 2015 Eastern Ontario Regional Envirothon will be taking place at MacSkimming Centre on April 23rd, 24th, ad May 1st, 2015. 

Environmental Education Inquiry Network

On December 2nd and 9th, OCDSB Curriculum Services, Facilities & the Outdoor Education Centres hosted the Environmental Education Inquiry Network and Ecoschools workshop for OCDSB elementary teachers at Confederation Education Centre.

This network series is to provide an opportunity for teachers to: Learn about teacher resources, talk about student engagement towards the environment and work on their
EcoSchools certification towards their school.

The OCDSB Outdoor Education Centre instructors provided an afternoon outdoor component to support educators in programming planning and to get them learning and playing outside. 

On a very cold December 2nd, the Outdoor Education instructors introduced Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 teachers to a series of outdoor "dramatized animal activities" with the objective of introducing elementary students to the natural history of local wildlife and basic ecological concepts through a series of interactive role-playing and stoty-based activities. Teachers had the opportunity to "play" the life cycle of meadow voles and practice hunting techniques of an eastern coyote.

On December 9th, the Centre instructors took the Grade 4 to 8 teachers into the forest to focus on developing observation skills, which form the groundwork for any further inquiry-based programming.

Through a series of simple activities, OCDSB instructors introduced "Noticing Things" in our environment by recognizing patterns, sharing discoveries and pursuing answers to questions.

Another networking session will occur again in March 2015 and conclude for the school year in June, with an "Envionmental Stewardship Day" to include students who are active environmentally within their school.

Outdoor Education Centre staff sit on both the OCDSB Elementary and Secondary Environment Education network sub-committee and the OCDSB Environmental Education Steering Committee.


The Outdoor Education Centres Get the Silver!
Bill Mason and MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centres are very pleased to receive a “Silver” certification by Ontario EcoSchools this 2013-2014 school year.

Ontario EcoSchools is an environmental education and certification program for grade K-12 that helps school communities develop both ecological literacy and environmental practices to become environmentally responsible citizens and reduce the ecological footprint of schools.

Ontario EcoSchools certification recognizes a school for its annual achievement in 6 key areas: Teamwork & Leadership, Energy Conservation, Waste Minimization, School Ground Greening, Ecological Literacy (curriculum) and Environmental Stewardship. 

Throughout the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), 58 schools in total were certified as EcoSchools this past year.