Education Programs, Camps & PD Days


Located at beautiful Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) Adventure Day Camps provide the opportunity for your campers to explore the great outdoors, learn about the environment, identify diverse plants and animals, and discover the history of the site.

NPCA day camps offer immersive and inclusive educational, environmental, and historical activities. Each day includes a nature hike or historical tour, group games, crafts or experiments, and natural play and discovery. Each week features special guests and take-home crafts!

For Campers ages 6-12. Our camps run 9am to 3pm daily, with extended hours available from 8am to 4:30pm daily.

PD Days

Let your student spend their PD Day in nature! At Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, PD Day Camps bring students into the wild, to explore the wonders of the environment around them. From guided nature hikes, to inclusive outdoor games, science experiments and take-home crafts, campers will be busy all day long and immersed in all that Ball’s Falls has to offer.

For the 2018-2019 Elementary School Year PD Day Camps at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area will be available on the following dates*:

  • January 18, 2019
  • February 15, 2019
  • May 17, 2019
  • June 7, 2019
  • June 28, 2019

Hours: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Fee: $35.00 per camper per day

Extended Care Hours available: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Extended Care fee: $5.00 per camper

Camp location: 3292 Sixth Ave., Lincoln, ON L0R 1S0

To register, please contact Program Staff at: 905-562-5235 ext. 22

Or at programming@npca.ca

Campers must be registered no later than 3:00 pm on Friday one week prior to the PD Day. If the minimum number of campers are not registered, parents will be contacted after 3:00 pm one week in advance in order to make alternate arrangements.

*PD Day Camp will be cancelled one week prior to the date if minimum number of registrations is not met. A minimum of eight (8) campers are required in order to run PD Day Camp.

Education Programs

The NPCA offers educational programming for young learners through to university and college levels. Programs can be hosted at various NPCA Conservation Areas, including Ball’s Falls and Binbrook. NPCA programs are hands-on, experiential, inquiry-based and cross-curricular. Field activities are based on environmental and conservation concepts and practices, and bring the classroom outdoors.

Receive a 10% discount if you combine two programs in one visit. All education programs must be booked in advance (two weeks preferred). Teacher and a maximum of 1 adult per 5 students admitted free. Fees are subject to change. Some programs may require minimum registration.

Half-Day and Full-Day Programs Available!

All listed programs are half-day. New for 2018, NPCA will offer the opportunity to extend any selected program to full-day, or select two programs for a cross-curricular visit.

For more information, or to book, please contact programming@npca.ca or call 905-562-5235 ext. 22.

Primary School Programs
Winter Outdoor Adventure

January to March (Availability dependent upon suitable snow conditions) for Grades 4 – 12

Snowshoe along trails and learn about wintertime habitats and environmental changes within the Carolinian forest. Warm up by roasting bannock over a campfire, enjoying a cup of cider and playing a winter game. Students must dress appropriately for the weather.

Max group size: 50 students

Duration: 1½ -2 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: 4 - 12 | Physical Education, Geography

Ball’s Falls Rocks!

May to October, Grades 4 – 6

What varieties of rock can be found at Ball’s Falls? In this hands-on program, students will use their scientific skills to test and identify characteristics of Niagara Escarpment rocks. They will take a tour of important geological sites and features and will gain an understanding of how sedimentary rocks are formed.

Maximum group size: 50 students

Duration: 2 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: 4 - 6 | Science, Languages, Geography

Follow Our LEED

Year-round— All Grade Levels

Visit the Centre for Conservation, a gold certified LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building. Tour the CFC and develop an understanding of green building techniques and technologies, learn how the building works and how it addresses some of the environmental concerns facing our world.

Maximum group size: 30 students
Duration: 1 hour

Curriculum Links: Grades: JK - 12 | Science, Language

Journey to Glen Elgin

May to October, Grades JK – 12

This guided tour is an introduction to the history of Ball’s Falls, suitable for all grade levels. The tour introduces students to one of the first communities established along the Twenty Mile Creek and teaches about early domestic life and the industrial era of Glen Elgin. At the Lower Falls, students will discover the importance of waterpower as a factor in settlement and community development. They will visit a 210-year-old gristmill, a pioneer cabin and a Victorian home, and will have the opportunity to help in the blacksmith shop and make a pioneer craft.

Maximum group size: 50 students

Duration: 1.5 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: JK - 12 | History, Language, Geography

Amazing Amphibians

April to June, for Grades 1 – 4

Step into the world of Amphibians! Students will explore ponds, streams, and forests to discover frogs, toads, and even salamanders. They will study the life cycle of amphibians, and the impact that humans have on their habitats.

Max group size: 40 students

Duration: 2 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: 2 - 4 | Science, Languages, Physical Education

Spring Awakening

May to June for Grades 1 – 4

During this interactive program, students experience the lives of settler children by participating in a variety of seasonal chores, which may include: baking bannock bread in an outdoor bake oven, churning butter, quilting, assembling a timber frame, and planting and ploughing. Students will get to make a pioneer toy to take home.

Max group size: 60 students

Duration: 2 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: 1 - 4 | History, Language

Fall Harvest

September and October for grades 2-4

Fall was a busy time of year for the early settlers at Ball’s Falls. Students will prepare for winter by preserving foods and seeds and next planting season. They will learn how the early settlers built and operated the gristmill, help grind wheat into flour, and assist the blacksmith in his shop.

Max group size: 45 students

Duration: 2 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: 2 - 4 | History, Language

Christmas in the Country

November 25 – December 13 for Grades JK-6, Limited registration

This program introduces students to settler and Victorian celebrations. Activities include demonstrations in the decorated pioneer cabin and the historical Ball home, sampling hot mulled cider and cookies, a sing-a-long in the country church, and the creation of a small keepsake to take home. Best suited for grades 2 – 4, but all grade levels are welcome.

Max group size: 60 students

Duration: 1¾ hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: JK - 6 | History, Languages

Take a Hike!

Year-round, all ages and grade-levels, tailored accordingly.

Take a hike through the beautiful and diverse Carolinian forest, along the Twenty Mile Creek and through an early settler village. These guided nature hikes showcase the diverse species of trees, plants, birds, insects, mammals, and their habitats. Students will learn about the history and cultural heritage of Ball’s Falls, how to identify certain plants and animals in the forest and will view spectacular scenery along the way.

Max group size: 40 students

Duration: 1 ½ - 2 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: 1 - 12 | Science, Language, Physical Education

Compass Orienteering

May to October, Grades 6 - 12

This course allows students to develop compass skills while locating markers throughout the parks. Beginning with an introduction to using compasses and measuring distance, students will work in small groups to follow the markers throughout the park. Schools are provided with necessary maps and suggested rules of play, and teachers must oversee the program. It is recommended that teachers visit the site prior to the activity.

Max group size: 40 students

Duration: 2 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: 4 - 12 | Physical Education, Geography

Secondary School Programs
Balls Falls: What's Underground

May to October, Grades 9 – 11

Students will explore the Niagara escarpment, an important site displaying geologic time in stratified layers. Starting with the view of a spectacular rock profile, students will test and identify the types of rocks found at Ball’s Falls and learn about how geomorphic processes resulted in their formation. Concluding with a hands-on soil alkalinity test, they will study how human activity has been determined by local soil, and how humans have impacted the soils found in Niagara today.

Maximum Group Size: 60 students
Duration: 2 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: 9,11 | Science, Physical Education, Geography

Human Impact on Environment

May to October, Grades 9 - 11

Students will learn how to conduct a field survey of the forests of Ball’s Falls by creating test plots. Using the test plots, they will learn how to identify invasive species and their impact on the natural environment and native species. Students will be able to identify key invasive species, examine local and global spatial distribution patterns, and identify both prevention and eradication goals and methods.

Maximum Group Size: 60 students
Duration: 2 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: 9,11 | Science, Physical Education, Geography

Water Quality at Ball's Falls

May to October, Grades 9 - 11

Students will collect samples from three locations, including the Twenty Mile Creek for water quality measurement. They will conduct a macroinvertebrate field survey on the Twenty Mile Creek, in which organisms are used as bio-indicators of stream health. Using their collected data, they will be able to determine the health of the water systems at Ball’s Falls by comparing collected data. Using land-cover maps of the area, students will examine the interrelationships between humans and the environment, and identify potential causes for any pollution that may be evident in the water.

Maximum Group Size: 60 students
Duration: 2 hours

Curriculum Links: Grades: 9,11 | Science, Physical Education, Geography

Note: When there is a seasonal decline in Macroinvertebrates in the watercourse, students will study air quality.

ADD ON | Air Quality: Using Lichens as Indicator Species

Available September to June

Lichens are reliant on ambient air and are sensitive to changing air quality in their microclimates. Students will conduct a field survey of Ball’s Falls, identifying the spatial distribution and aspect of lichens on trees. They will identify four key species of lichens which can be used as bio-indicators of air quality. By examining lichens, students can acquire a sense of air quality at Ball’s Falls, and what factors influence air quality.

Curriculum Links: Grades: 9,11 | Science, Physical Education, Geography

Niagara Envirothon

*Note: teams must attend the workshop to compete on May 2nd

The Envirothon is North America’s largest high school environmental education competition. This unique program reaches more than 500,000 students across North America annually; and it’s now being offered to high-school students throughout Niagara!

Since 2008, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority has been coordinating a great outdoor education program called the Niagara Envirothon in partnership with Niagara Restoration Council, Land Care Niagara, Heartland Forest and local naturalist clubs. In 2016 a portion of funding was generously provided by Ontario Power Generation and Forests Ontario.

The Envirothon is a hands-on environmental problem-solving competition for high school-aged students in the United States and Canada. Participating teams complete training and testing in five natural resource categories: soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife, and current environmental issues. This program is run over two days. The first day consists of a workshop where a minimum of 10 professional volunteers offer to teach students about the five natural resource categories listed above. Eco stations are set-up outdoors and relevant tools and equipment are provided so students have an opportunity to look, learn and actually use the equipment. The second day is a testing day where the students compete for an opportunity to move on to the provincial Envirothon level. The Ontario Envirothon is held in May each year and is run by the Ontario Forestry Association (www.ontarioenvirothon.on.ca).

The technical workshop allows the students to interact with professionals in environmental disciplines from our region. The Niagara Envirothon is a way to enhance student learning and foster potential environmental leaders within our communities. As future leaders, they may one day form policies and promote programs to protect, enhance and restore our environment while promoting public appreciation.

Program Contact: Kerry Royer, 905-788-3135 x234 or kroyer@npca.ca