Are you an OCDSB High School Student Interested in Spending Semester 2 in Nature? Learn More…

A group of students holding shovels out in nature.

Before becoming a classroom teacher, Chris Drummond worked as an ecologist, a park naturalist, and an outdoor educator.  His passion for the outdoors and how human beings interact in the ecosystems around Ottawa and beyond led him to develop a new environmental field course that emphasizes using skills and practices he learned while working in the field.

Student using a compass

Beginning in February 2020, Environmental SHSM Students in the OCDSB will begin using local woodlands, water bodies, and rural lands as their classroom, spending three days a week  around MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre (@OCDSBoec) to study the natural environment in the natural environment.  

Four students using nets in shallow water.

The new delivery model for the Environmental SHSM (Specialist High Skills Major) will be structured around field studies projects that provide opportunities for students to perform primary research in habitat conservation and management, as well as natural resource conservation and management.  Students will study local examples of regional environmental issues such as climate change, water quality, urbanization, waste management, and sustainable agriculture, as a lens to understanding these issues on a global level. 

Students stand wearing hard hats outside of an industrial plant.

Students interested in understanding and working on contemporary environmental issues in an authentic, purposeful approach that seeks to address the issues we hear about on a daily basis will find the new Environmental SHSM a meaningful introduction to post-secondary studies in Ecology, Habitat Conservation, Ecosystem Management, Wildlife Management, Environmental Science, and Resource Management.  Drummond has created a course that places the work of science as a means to learning science; the lab is the earth, the textbook the ecosystems that surround us, the work is boots on the ground and hands in the mud, and the learning as experiential as one’s gear allows. 

The five credit package includes: three SHSM major courses (IDC4U Habitat Ecology, CGR4M Environment and Resource Management, and SVN3M Environmental Science), two environmental COOP credits, industry-ask certifications (ie. Standard First Aid, GPS, Paddling, Animal and Plant Management, Species Identification, …), as well as reach ahead, innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial components unique to the environmental protection sector. 

Students and Parents interested in learning more can connect with Chris Drummond – [email protected]; @OCDSBenviroshsm.  The Green Learning Environmental SHSM Program can be accessed as a Google Classroom using the code: crfcz45.

Students holding shovels pose for a picture.
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