Each school program run by ClearWater Farm is co-designed with the teacher to meet their curricular needs, to suit the interests of their students, and to reflect the seasonal needs of our site. Students get the opportunity to immerse themselves in the landscape and learn about cultivating and caring for the land through hands-on activities in small groups. We hope to provide children and teachers with a deep sense of connection to nature and to inspire and provide them with ways to bring nature back with them into their classroom. We also seek to grow relationships with schools who share our belief in the importance of understanding a particular sense of place by returning for multiple visits.
At Clearwater farm we believe in providing students with practical hands-on experiential learning opportunities. The types of programs we offer focus on inquiry-based activities in regenerative forestry and stewardship practices, basic mycology, fire building and tending, green woodworking, nature art, ecological design and other seasonal specialties. Students are encouraged to use their imaginations and to take healthy risks in order to understand their capacity and to gain confidence in their abilities. Throughout, we value the process of learning, encourage innovative ideas and practices by youth.
For example, with St. Bernadette’s Catholic school we customized a girls empowerment program for grades 4-6. Each group of 10 girls was given an age-appropriate challenge, involving team building and mentoring of younger students. They were introduced to the project through drama and storytelling in the classroom, and completed their program in two whole-day sessions at the farm.
With Country Day School, grade 11 students learned about forestry accomplishing practical stewardship tasks with safe use of traditional hand tools, and cultivated edible mushrooms involving three different techniques. As a class project over lunch, they dragged a giant log across a pre-existing pit – which has since turned into a balance beam challenge for other kids.
With St. Andrews College, we customized a program building on our observations of the available natural space on campus and the needs of our teacher-partners. We brought our staff to the school’s site, and set up a rotation of activities built around the natural abundances and hazards associated with the land. One group, wandering through the woods, learnt about tree identification, native plants, local habitats and animals. Another group harvested cedar for tea and talked about first nations perspectives on the land and understanding our place culturally. At the end of the session, all students came to sit by the fire they lit, drank tea that they made, and make cedar spoons with fire and knives as a rite of passage.
ClearWater Farm also works with Not-for-Profits which want to add meaningful outdoor experiences to the mix of activities they provide to their customers and can collaborate with us to co-design programs to meet their needs and budget.
For example, working with innovative social service provider Rose of Sharon, who support teenage mothers, we created a custom farm-based program that provided an opportunity for them to explore how to be comfortable outside with their infants and toddlers, and to learn to prepare food from nutritious options available on the farm and in the forest.
Schools and organizations who are interested should contact us to discuss their needs and inquire about timing and terms associated with a visit to ClearWater Farm at