The RCDSB and the Renfrew County District Catholic School Board have jointly agreed to continue to provide financial support for the Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre (SWOEC).
The RCDSB will contribute $25,000 a year and the RCCDSB will contribute $20,000 a year for the next five years ending Aug, 31, 2020. The funding will provide Shaw Woods with the stability needed to continue to provide first-rate outdoor education while applying for additional grants under a stable-funded environment.
“As RCDSB chair I am proud that our trustees voted unanimously to support the Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre,” Chair Dave Shields said. “I have visited the facility several times and am amazed at how quickly it has grown in to a first class learning facility. I have witnessed the excitement in the students’ eyes as they learn and play at the same time.”
Thousands of Renfrew County students of all ages visit SWOEC every year during all four seasons.
“The outdoor education facility provides rich learning experiences that are based on curriculum expectations and have a positive impact on student engagement,” RCCDSB Chair Bob Michaud said. “The hands-on learning nurtures an understanding and appreciation of nature and inspires students to become stewards of our environment. The RCCDSB is pleased to be able to provide some long-term funding support for the SWOEC, which is an outstanding local resource.”
The Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre sits on 45 hectares of old growth forest and supports a wide variety of ecological communities which have been carefully protected for generations. The property features a variety of managed forests, plantations and wetlands; a comprehensive trail system; an escarpment lookout over Shaw’s Pond; and is a nesting site for bald eagles.
The centre has built the Pine Pavilion outdoor classroom, washroom facilities, a constructed bioswale, maple sugar shack and parking. SWOEC offers several curriculum-based programs suitable for all four seasons provided by Outdoor Education Director Lyndsey Mask.
“This is a school in the wilds,” RCDSB Chair Shields said. “Students enjoy being immersed in the curriculum by seeing, feeling and experiencing nature instead of reading about it from a text book. It is a perfect fit to Ontario’s expectations for student learning.”
In September, 2013 both the RCDSB and RCCDSB contributed a one-time funding allocation to the SWOEC. A portion of that funding granted free admission for a number of students for both boards.
– Photo: provided. CUTLINE: Renfrew County elementary students learn about the Valley’s rich logging history during a 2015 trip to the Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre.