Learning

EDUCATION PROGRAMS

The NPCA offers educational and recreational programming for young learners through to university and college levels, as well as for visiting tour and special-interest groups and clubs! Our experienced educators include OCT-certified teachers, recreation specialists and environmental science specialists. Our programs bring the classroom outdoors, and provide authentic, hands-on experiences for all learners in a dynamic, inclusive and exciting way.

All education programs must be booked in advance (two weeks preferred). One adult chaperone (including teachers) is included in the fee with every 5 students. Additional chaperones are subject to additional day-use fees. Fees are subject to change. Some programs may require minimum registration.

Half-day and Full-day programs are available! All listed programs are half-day. Classes and groups have the opportunity to select one program for a half-day visit or two programs for a cross-curricular, full-day experience. 

While the programs listed below are hosted at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, many can also be delivered at a Conservation Area near you.

To inquire about hosting a program at an NPCA Conservation Area closer to you, please visit npca.ca/parks for our list of parks and contact us at programming@npca.ca or call 905-788-3135 ext. 322.

2020-21 RATES
  • Half-day Visit: $7.00 /student
  • Full-day Visit: $12.00 /student
  • Minimum group size of 15 students, or minimum fee of $105.00 required to book



elementary school programs

WINTER OUTDOOR ADVENTURE

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

Students will snowshoe along our trails in a guided trek, learning about wintertime habitats and environmental changes within the Carolinian forest. Students will then warm up by roasting a treat over a campfire, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and playing a winter-themed game. Students must dress appropriately for the weather, including clothing layers, winter boots, hats, scarves, and mitts.

  • Max group size: 50 students
  • Duration: 1½ -2 hours
  • Curriculum Links: Grades: 4 - 12 | Health & Physical Education, Geography

BALL’S FALLS ROCKS!

May to October, Grades 4 – 6

We are having an identity crisis! What kind of rock is underneath us? 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, Technology, Geography

FOLLOW OUR LEED

Year-round— All Grade Levels

How do humans impact our environment? What can we do to change the way we use our resources to protect our planet? Step into and around the Centre for Conservation at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area.

  • Maximum group size: 30 students
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Curriculum Links: Grades: JK - 12 | Science, Technology, Language

AMAZING AMPHIBIANS

April to June, for Grades 1 – 4

Step into the world of amphibians at Ball’s Falls! Investigate ponds and streams, under rocks and logs, and in our forests, for frogs, toads, and even salamanders. Explore the life cycle of amphibians, and the impact that humans have on these and their habitats. Students will take part in an experiment and consider ways to protect these important indicator species in the environment.

  • Max group size: 40 students
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Curriculum Links: Grades: 2 - 4 | Science, Technology, Languages, Physical Education

At-Home Resources: Activity Instructions

INSECT INVESTIGATION

Step into the world of amphibians at Ball’s Falls! Investigate ponds and streams, under rocks and logs, and in our forests, for frogs, toads, and even salamanders. Explore the life cycle of amphibians, and the impact that humans have on these and their habitats. Students will take part in an experiment and consider ways to protect these important indicator species in the environment.

  • Max group size: 40 students
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Curriculum Links: Grades: 1 - 4 | Science, Technology, Languages, Physical Education, Geography

At-Home Resources

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 pioneer chores, which may include: baking bannock bread in an outdoor bake oven, churning butter, quilting, assembling a timber barn frame, and planting and ploughing the spring garden. Students will make a pioneer toy to take home!

  • Max group size: 60 students
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Curriculum Links: Grades: 1 - 4 | Social Studies, History, Language, Geography 

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 | Social Studies, History, Language, Geography

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 | Social Studies, Geography, 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 | Social Studies, Geography, History, Languages

2019 CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY PROGRAMMING.

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: 50 students
  • Duration: 1 ½ - 2 hours
  • Curriculum Links: Grades: 1 - 12 | Science, Language, Physical Education

“This program can be tailored to meet your cross-curricular needs*

COMPASS OR MAP ORIENTEERING

May to October, Grades 6 - 12

This program allows students to develop compass skills while locating markers throughout the park. The course requires students to use their geography and map-reading skills. Students will begin with a short introduction to using compasses and maps and how to measure distance. Students will work in small groups to follow the markers throughout the park before returning to the start point. Control points are located throughout the park, and schools are provided with necessary maps and suggested rules of play. It is recommended that teachers visit the site prior to the scheduled date, as they must direct and implement the activity.

  • Max group size: 40 students
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Curriculum Links: Grades: 4 - 12 | Health & Physical Education, Geography

INTRO TO ARCHERY

Year-round, Grades 4-12

Students will be introduced to the sport of archery and will receive instructions on how to handle and utilize bows and arrows safely and precisely. They will try out a beginner’s archery course, and work as a team to achieve a high score for their class!

  • Max group size: 30 students
  • Duration: 1 1/2 - 2 hours
  • Curriculum Links: Grades: 4 - 12 | Health & Physical Education, Geography

TEAM TIME

Year-round, Grades 6-12

Develop team spirit and cooperation within your class through a series of team-building activities. In this interactive program, students will get to know their classmates and themselves while undergoing challenges and adventures designed to bring the group together and introduce new ways of thinking, problem-solving and communicating. Students will design and take home their own team bandana/flag.

  • Max group size: 40 students
  • Duration: 1 1/2 - 2 hours
  • Curriculum Links: Grades: 4 - 12 | Health & Physical Education, Language

OUR FOREST PLAYSCAPE

The Ball's Falls Forest Playscape is a free-play forest area for children, youth, students, adults and families. It encourages free-form play, creativity, problem-solving, team-based thinking and physical activity, all while immersed in a forest area.

The playscape includes a cedar split rail fence and feature system, loose-parts for creative play, and natural materials for shelter and fort-building activities. 

HOURS OF OPERATIONS

SAFE PLAYSCAPE INSTRUCTIONS

secondary school programming

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

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

At-Home Resources: 

ROCKS AND SOILS

May to October, Grades 9 – 11

Students will explore the Niagara escarpment—an important site of geologic and geomorphic time. Beginning with a viewing of a spectacular rock profile, students will be guided through a series of stations, where they will test and identify the types of rocks found at Ball’s Falls and learn about their formation. Concluding with a hands-on soil profile test, students will study how human activity has been affected 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

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: 50 students
  • Duration: 1 ½ - 2 hours
  • Curriculum Links: Grades: 1 - 12 | Science, Language, Physical Education

“This program can be tailored to meet your cross-curricular needs*

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.

At-Home Resources: 

ball's falls playscape

FREE-PLAY FOREST AREA

The Ball's Falls Forest Playscape is a free-play forest area for children, youth, students, adults and families. It encourages free-form play, creativity, problem-solving, team-based thinking and physical activity, all while immersed in a forest area.

The playscape includes a cedar split rail fence and feature system, loose-parts for creative play, and natural materials for shelter and fort-building activities. 

HOURS OF OPERATIONS

SAFE PLAYSCAPE INSTRUCTIONS

School Group/Organized Group Visits to passive Conservation Areas

ADMISSION FEES

School Groups and Organized Groups wishing to visit NPCA Conservation Areas for self-guided activities are subject to admission fees.

  • 2021 Bus rate: $135.00

To book, please contact programming@npca.ca or ext. 326.

SPECIALIZED ECOLOGICAL TOUR

School Groups wishing to visit NPCA Conservation Areas for a specialized ecological tour or demonstration by experts on staff with the NPCA, please contact programming@npca.ca or ext. 326.

Program fees apply (per student and per group rates available)

AT HOME RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS, EDUCATORS, & PARENTS
WATER QUALITY PROGRAM RESOURCES
HUMAN IMPACT PROGRAM RESOURCES
AMAZING AMPHIBIANS PROGRAM RESOURCES
INSECT INVESTIGATION PROGRAM RESOURCES