Beaver Brae Secondary School along with Sciences and Indigenous Studies teacher Jordan Doner will be introducing a new Land-Based Learning program come September.

“It's a land-based bundle credit program and what that really means is we're looking at trying to engage students with the land, their culture, as well as earning high school credits,” said Doner

Doner added “Land-Based learning is nothing new and has been happening for thousands of years. It's something from the Nishnawbe culture that I've really connected through in my upbringing and it's something that I feel is really important for our students.”

Doner started his teaching career at Pikangikum First Nation and had the opportunity to work with First Nations that are fluent in Nishnawbe. He also got to see the impacts of land-based experiential learning which gave him the idea for the program.

The basis around the creation of the program was the issue of time and there not being enough of it. In the 2021-2022 school year Beaver Brae will be bundling together the Grade 9 PAD1O and the Grade 9 LNOA to allow for more time for students and be taught by Doner.

A program like this emphasizes strong and meaningful relationship development with students as well as giving them experiences where they have the opportunity to grow in the character, learn the identity, and learn more about their culture. The program shapes their lifelong passion for the outdoors.

Research has been found that learning in an outdoor environment has mental health benefits as well.

Both of the combined courses will meet compulsory credit requirements for Grade 9. Physical Education is met through PAD and the language requirement will be met through the LNO program.

The curriculum is focused on land-based opportunities such as camping, canoeing, fire building, and snowshoeing. The curriculum will be tied in through learning the language LNAO requirements and the skills of outdoor education.

Students will hopefully be learning resume-building skills. Doner hopes to deliver an orca basic level 2 tandem program for students as he is an orca canoeing instructor, and also hopes to do wilderness First Aid certifications.

At the end of the program, Doner hopes that the program will give students the opportunity to become leaders and is very excited to bring this program to Beaver Brae Secondary School next year.