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Step Outside is an entertaining compilation of seasonal happenings designed to help students develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Published by LSF two to three times each month, the guides detail interesting natural events taking place outdoors- often just beyond the school walls.
Available on the R4R website, Step Outside Nature Guides identify opportunities throughout the school year for teachers to move the classroom outdoors and include a variety of tools to support teaching and learning. Each guide is filled with engaging images and videos as well as links to a variety of ‘easy-to-implement’ activities and lesson plans found in the R4R database. Curriculum-linked resources especially relevant to events discussed in the Nature Guide are identified by the R4R icon. Clicking on the owl provides direct access to the resource. Nature guides and related resources can be immediately downloaded from the R4R website.
The Nature Guides have their origin in a newsletter series created by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in 2008. LSF would like to acknowledge the staff of the Biodiversity Section of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for their pioneering work and support in the development of Step Outside. LSF would also like to thank the Biodiversity Education & Awareness Network (BEAN) for their financial support.
While Step Outside is intended for use in classrooms in all parts of Canada, some of the events being described may be more relevant to certain regions and could take place sooner or later depending on geographical location.
The Big Book of Nature Activities: A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning written by Jacob Rodenburg and Drew Monkman is a comprehensive guide for educators interested in helping students of all ages connect to the natural world. The book features information and observations, seasonal activities, stories, games, and serves as an excellent companion to Step Outside.
Nature's Year in the Kawarthas by Drew Monkman is an almanac of key events occurring in the natural world over the course of a year in the Kawartha Lakes district will be of particular interest to those teaching in Southern Ontario.