Environmental Education, Field Trips

Conservation Areas

Conservation Areas

Originally published in TEACH Magazine, May/June 2024 Issue

Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, which is why it is important for the younger generations to develop an appreciation of the natural world and what must be done to protect it. Often the best way to learn about nature is by being immersed in it, and so we’ve made a list of some incredible conservation areas that offer environmental education programming.

Engaging with the outdoors at a young age allows children to form a lasting bond with nature, and also helps them understand the responsibility they have to sustain it. Through conducting field surveys, following animal tracks, identifying trees, and more, these trips will inspire students to care about the flora and fauna around them, while encouraging them embrace their role as environmental stewards of the future.

Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area
Foothills, AB

ASCCA’s outdoor programs offer a unique and immersive way to supplement your students’ learning about the interconnectedness of all living things. Kids from Grades 1–9 can explore this 4,800-acre living classroom while taking part in a wide range of hands-on, curriculum-connected topics. From the fascinating lifecycles of insects, to the incredible ways plants and animals survive in winter, to the important role trees play in mitigating the effects of climate change, students will gain a deeper understanding of biodiversity, stewardship, and how all species (including humans) fit into the web of life.

Blue Hill Heritage Trust
Blue Hill Peninsula, ME

Field trips along the Blue Hill Peninsula cover a diverse range of ecological topics including local geology, vernal pool ecosystems, fire safety, and native plants. The Trust also connects teachers with experts and professionals in the community to lead field trips on various subjects like mushrooms, birding, seaweed, and nature journaling. Teachers are encouraged to share their requirements for standards and curriculum connections so that each trip can be customized to suit their needs. The Trust’s website has a number of educational resources that are worth checking out too!

Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority
Various locations, ON

CLOCA offers year-round educational opportunities for K–12 students to learn about watersheds, conservation, and the natural world. Choose from dozens of curriculum-connected programs, all of which are designed to help students explore habitats and gain knowledge about biodiversity, while also engaging in interactive games and activities. A selection of virtual field trips are available as well, and be sure to check out the additional teacher resources.


The Conservation Foundation
Various locations, IL

The Conservation Foundation runs K–12 field trips at their two farms sites in Naperville and Montgomery, but they will also lead a field trip exploration at any local natural area, or even bring hands-on environmental education programs right to your classroom! Choose from curriculum-aligned field trips about geoscience, decomposers, wind and solar power, and more.

High Park Nature Centre
Toronto, ON

Located in Toronto’s largest public park, this nature centre is an excellent destination for educators who want to provide their students with an unforgettable learning experience. Here, K–12 students will engage in a variety of hands-on activities that help them understand the ecosystems of High Park, the importance of its soil and water bodies, and the history of the land. Each half-day field trip includes a hike, games, and stimulating discussions that foster curiosity and critical thinking.

Three Herons Conservation Area
Calgary, AB

In collaboration with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Inside Education has created a selection of half-day, hands-on field programs for junior high students. At the unique Three Herons site, students will have the opportunity to perform assessments of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, while also exploring the connections between wildlife, water, and land use. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the environment and contribute to its preservation!

Wascana Centre
Regina, SK

Students can get their fill of nature right in the heart of the city at Wascana’s Habitat Conservation Area. This 23-acre site is home to many notable plant and animal species who are featured in the centre’s one- to three-hour programs. Elementary students can learn about wetlands, plant and animal adaptations, outdoor survival skills, and more, while older students have the chance to gain field experience by conducting their own biodiversity surveys.

Virtual Field Trips/Resources: