Amherstburg – A new Outdoor Classroom has been created at Holiday Beach Conservation Area in Amherstburg, thanks to a generous gift from the University of Windsor Alumni Association. Members of the Association joined the Essex Region Conservation Foundation on September 30 to dedicate this innovative learning space as part of the University’s Alumni Week celebrations.
“We are happy to play a role in creating this importance outdoor space especially during a time when students of all ages are learning in unprecedented and unique ways,” said Beth-Ann Prince, University of Windsor Alumni Association board president. “Educational spaces like this one will benefit current and future University of Windsor alumni, their families and the community.”
The Alumni Association donated $50,000 in 2019 toward the outdoor classroom and research at Lebo Creek Wetland.
The importance of outdoor learning spaces and providing opportunities for young people to connect with nature cannot be overstated.
“Like the University of Windsor, Essex Region Conservation believes outdoor education is a building block for the success of future generations,” said Claire Wales, Vice President of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation. “A compelling body of evidence clearly shows that introducing kids to nature has numerous health benefits, including increased physical activity, healthier body weight, better concentration, reduced symptoms of ADHD and anxiety, and improved energy. As well, time spent in nature during childhood is one of the biggest factors that contribute to environmental stewardship in adulthood.”
In addition to providing enhanced learning experiences for the young people who participate in field trips to Holiday Beach, the Outdoor Classroom will be used for other educational workshops such as migration talks, banding demonstrations, and owl prowls. Student researchers from the University’s Ornithology Department, who regularly conduct field work at the site, will also utilize this educational space.
Holiday Beach Conservation Area is a well-known destination not only for student field trips but also for tourists. Visitors from around the globe flock to this Amherstburg location each fall to witness the spectacular raptor migration, which was identified by Audubon Magazine as one of the top three hawk watching sites in all of North America.
“This new educational facility will connect more students to nature, and help foster an interest in science and technology, paving the way for students to consider their path to the University of Windsor,” concluded Prince. “This is a wonderful way for us to celebrate Alumni Week.”
The University of Windsor Alumni Association adds value to the lives of both alumni and students. Through active partnership with alumni and friends, the association fosters pride through the development of lifelong relationships with graduates past, present and future. uwindsor.ca/alumni
For more than 40 years, the Essex Region Conservation Foundation has been raising funds to enrich our region as the Place for Life. essexregionconservation.ca/conservation-foundation