Profile – Bill Mason Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies Centre

On average, 4000 students attend Bill Mason Outdoor Education Centre annually.

The primary focus of Bill Mason is 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 Bill Mason “outdoor classroom” consists of 72acres.

The Bill Mason Outdoor Education Centre is located in the west end of Ottawa off Dunrobin road.

The Bill Mason Outdoor Education Centre opened in 1988 as a school within the Carleton Public School Board.

Bill Mason Outdoor Education Centre was named after Bill Mason. Bill Mason was an award-winning Canadiannaturalist, author, artist, filmmaker, and conservationist, noted primarily for his popular canoeing books, films, and paintings.

Bill Mason Centre is fortunate in having an extraordinarily diverse site, including a provincially significant marsh wetland, mid succession mixed forests, red maple swamps and alvar. Students of all grades participate and explore the on-site ecological systems found in the outdoor classroom.

Here is a small list of the biodiversity that considers Bill Mason Centre, habitat:

Virginia rail eastern red cedar American mink

indian cucumber red spotted newt white-faced meadowhawk dragonfly

blanding turtle central mudminnow veery

buffaloberry pine grosbeak royal fern

Since amalgamation of the Ottawa and Carleton Boards, the Bill Mason and MacSkimming Centre have worked together to offer a wide range of programs and activities for OCDSB and non-OCDSB students and community groups.

OCDSB Outdoor Education Centres provide curriculum–based and outdoor programs for students and community groups. Centre staff strives to provide quality, safe, progressive hands-on learning experiences in a natural surroundings.

 Some examples of the programs that are offered at the centre:

o Grade 2: Growth and Changes in Animals

o Grade 3: Plants and Soil

o Grade 4: Habitats and Communities

o Grade 6: First Contact in the New World

o Grade 7: Cross-country Skiing

o Grade 9: Personal and Group Development

Bill Mason’s programs are designed to:

o Complement and extend the Ontario curriculum

o Immerse participants in nature’s outdoor classroom through direct experience

o Promote an appreciation and understanding of basic ecological processes.

o Nurture understanding, respect and appreciation for self and others.

o Stress the basic attitudes necessary for safe, progressive outdoor experiences throughout all seasons

The Centres employs four full-time Outdoor Education Instructors, a Program Site Administrator, an Office Administrator, a Supervisor of Maintenance, two Custodians and a Centre Coordinator (All staff work for both OCDSB Outdoor Education Centres).

The Centre Coordinator reports to the Principal of Continuing Education.

 The Bill Mason Centre offer programs in September, October, February, May and June.

 The first Sunday of October, the OCDSB Outdoor Education Centres hosts an event at Bill Mason Centre called” BMC Family Day”. This annual event allows the public to take part in our natural science programs and to explore the site with our instructor staff.

Hot dogs and refreshments are available.


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