The Benefits of Land-Based Education and Programming

The KZ lodge alternative program aims to have class students engage in memorable, and meaningful land-based learning experiences that encompass Indigenous perspectives, values and practices. The program has in the past also involved pairing school teachers with local elders, and other Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre staff to co-deliver curriculum in local outdoor settings, and in unique ways that help honour Indigenous values and ways of learning.

The program also looks to connect students to the local environment through hands-on projects and real-world experiential learning activities.

Some examples of lesson activities include:

-canoe instruction and certification at Kingfisher Outdoor Education Centre.

-wild rice workshops

-hunter safety training

-dog sledding

-learning about traditional medicines

– school-community partnerships with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)

-learning about Great Lakes fisheries and ecosystem management

-lessons on drum making

-traditional hide tanning activities

-forest fire training

– open fire cooking lessons

-chainsaw safety training

-Indigenous art lessons

-making birch bark baskets

-gardening/horticultural lessons and activities with Roots to Harvest

-elder talks

-sharing circles

-construction & welding activities, and exposure to the skilled trades

-Activities also include working together to problem solve (e.g., figuring out how to traditionally tan a deer hide or beaver, make moccasins from moose hide, setting up a prospector tent in winter, lodge building, making a traditional meal from plants and animals forged or harvested in the forest, etc.).

Traditional Moose Hide Fleshing and Tool Making Activities

During the spring of 2019, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry staff worked together with some Hammarskjold High School students from the School’s Outdoor Education class and KZ Lodge. This joint initiative between Lakehead Public Schools and Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (AFFES) was established with the goal to teach students the basics of fire ecology and provide them with training on forest fire fighting.
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