Known to many as simply “Brother Brennan”, the Echo Pond Environmental Education Centre is wonderfully located 13 km deep in the forest off Salmonier Line where it has been educating children on environmental issues and the outdoors for about 30 years.
School classes come to Echo Pond to learn during a two-day, one-night visit. it’s the highlight of the year for most students, and ties in curriculum outcomes that span health, art, language arts, physical education, math, science, and social studies. young minds thrive with the opportunity to learn in an outdoor setting. the idea is that the natural environment will build a connection that will lead to a greater interest in environmental issues, and more environmentally responsible choices.
The EEC also runs Summer Camps, week-long events that, like the school program, include hiking, campfires, games, storytelling, and orienteering, but also offers swimming, canoeing and crafts.
Community building is incredibly important in both initiatives. teachers get to know students in a less formal setting and vice-versa, helping to build strong, collaborative student-teacher relationships. the students (or campers) share rooms, meals, and activities. there is also a zero food waste challenge, where the students are challenged to take no more food than they need, and consume all they have. they keep track of the food waste for each school, and compare them, building a sense of camaraderie and school community.
The intent is to instill a sense of sustainable practices and knowledge for the children to take home with them, and incorporate into their lives. students learn about composting, food waste, and a whole host of environmental issues and things they can do to help. they even help out in the kitchen garden, see where their food comes from, and are actively involved in growing it.
For more information on how to get involved with the Friends of the Brother Brennan Centre or to donate, check out their website! Donations help with making the trips more affordable for students.