Outdoor and Experiential Education

Now, more than ever, students need contact with the natural world. Spending time in the outdoors is proven to have positive mental and physical outcomes for youth. The Outdoor and Experiential Education (OEE) program provides students and teachers with the opportunity to create memorable learning experiences.

The goals of the OEE program are to:

  • Engage students in hands-on learning outside of the classroom
  • Help students develop a greater awareness and appreciation of the natural world.

Students participating in Outdoor and Experiential Education learn through all of their senses. Students become engaged and active in their learning. Encouraging students to learn outdoors helps them to create meaningful connections with the natural environment and combat Nature Deficit Disorder.

Outdoor and Experiential Education can be incorporated into any class, subject or location. The following table describes the variety of programs and activity ideas available to SD59 classes:

Outdoor and Experiential Education


Adventure Education Bush Craft Community Sustainability Environmental Education
  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Rock climbing
  • Low ropes
  • Challenge initiatives
  • Canoeing
  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • First aid
  • Outdoor living skills
  • Knife use
  • Knot tying
  • Map & compass use
  • Fire making
  • Survival shelters
  • Edible wilds
    • Energy, water & waste reduction initiatives
    • Design and construction projects
      • Plant and animal identification
      • Ecosystem, forest, wetland, aquatic study
      • Biodiversity
      • Rocks, minerals and fossils
      • Weather
      • Winter adaptations

        Check out these OEE reports summarizing previous years of student engagement in experiential learning:

        The Gwillim Experience

        The Pat O’Reilly Outdoor and Environmental Studies Centre located on beautiful Gwillim Lake is the ideal setting for students to participate in OEE. This outdoor education centre features:

        • Cabins for student accommodation
        • Central lodge with kitchen
        • Climbing wall
        • Lake access
        • Outdoor classroom pavilion
        • Sauna
        • Several kilometers of hiking/skiing trails
        • Wash house with flush toilets and showers

        An experience at Gwillim allows students to learn about themselves and supports the development of positive character traits such as: respect, responsibility, self-confidence, openness to new experiences, helpfulness, leadership, grit, creativity and enthusiasm (just to name a few).

        A trip to Gwillim is an experience that last a lifetime.

        Teachers who want to book Gwillim

        Check the ‘Gwillim Calendar’ in the First Class ‘All Staff’ folder for site availability. Select an available series of dates that works for your class then contact the board office reception (250 782-8571) or Brad Booker (250 784-4238) to book your trip.

        For more camp information, please refer to the Gwillim Guide

        OEE Equipment Library

        If you would like to sign out any gear from list of equipment, request instruction for your class or are looking for OEE resources, please contact Brad.

        For more information or to request an Outdoor and Experiential Education outing for your class, contact:

        Brad Booker
        250 784 4238

        School is not in session over the summer break! Students return to school on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, starting 2 hours late, and ending 1 hour early.
        The StrongStart program does not run over the summer break. The program resumes on Wednesday, September 11, 2019.