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Take Me Outside Day - BCP

Oct 31, 2014

Heal Nature Deficit Disorder with the Bronte Creek Project

“The children and nature movement is fueled by this fundamental idea: the child in nature is an endangered species, and the health of children and the health of the Earth are inseparable.” - Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

In his ground-breaking 2005 book Last Child In The Woods, Richard Louv described an epidemic of “nature deficit disorder” affecting today’s plugged-in children and youth. Louv concluded that spending time in the natural environment is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults.

On October 29, 2014, students and staff from Halton District School Board’s Bronte Creek Project celebrated national “Take Me Outside Day,” by doing the same thing they do every day – spending the day in their giant outdoor classroom! In partnership with The David Suzuki Foundation and The Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, participants in “Take Me Outside Day,” pledge to spend one hour outside in nature to support education extending beyond four walls and a desk – something that the Bronte Creek Project has been doing for years.

The Bronte Creek Project is a one-semester community environmental leadership program for grade 11 and 12 students. Students can participate in BCP as part of a Specialist High Skills Major in Environment, or simply as an exciting alternative to a semester in a traditional classroom. Either way, they will come out with 4 credits as well as training and certifications in Leadership, GPS use, First Aid, Canoeing, Camping, and a lifetime’s worth of friendships and memories. Every single one of the students in BCP have chosen to be there and several of the students at Mount Nemo had been part of the grade 10 Trailhead program the year before.

Members of BCP went the extra mile that day – literally!- hiking from their base at Camp Sidrabene in Burlington up to the scenic overlook at Mount Nemo. The day was crisp and cool and the view spectacular – as promised by the signboard, you could see across pristine fields all the way to the CN Tower. Native elders Peter and Nancy, who work closely with the BCP, shared traditional knowledge of the medicines all around them as students and staff listened attentively.

After lunch, Nancy and Peter brought the students together to smudge and to listen and share their thoughts in a circle, and I was struck by the profound silence. It completely unlike the tense silence of a classroom under the control of a strict teacher or nervous energy of an exam in progress. This was the meditative silence of a group of people bound together, totally immersed in the moment, and it was truly transformative.

The Bronte Creek Project offers Halton Region Grade 11 and 12 students a unique pathway to apprenticeship, college, university, or work in a variety of exciting fields. The website describes BCP as, “A place for people who care about the fate of the planet, who like kids, who are willing to take a few risks, and who are excited to learn about themselves, their group, how this planet works, and how to play in it.” If that makes you think of yourself or your child, visit or to learn more!


By Karyn Pickles

Category: HDSB

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