Earthkeepers - CKW YMCA


Grades 5 and 6 - 3 Days, 2 Nights

Strand: Understanding Life Systems, Understanding Matter and Energy, and Understanding Earth and Space Systems




Earthkeepers has direct links to the Ontario Curriculum, and provides teachers with the opportunity to make meaningful connections across strands and disciplines. (For example, Life Systems, Matter and Materials, and Energy and Control)

Teachers and students have the opportunity to develop the knowledge required in the Ontario Curriculum while engaging the skills of problem solving and decision making in a group setting, along with the development of environmental attitudes and environmental responsibility for life.

Earthkeepers also very effectively delivers the three main goals of the Science and Technology curriculum:
  • Understanding Basic Concepts
  • Inquiry and Design Skills
  • Relating Science and Technology to the World Outside the School


Earthkeepers (Grades 5 & 6) is an exciting hands-on learning adventure that aims to develop within each individual a value system based on respect for all living things. With some preliminary classroom work, an on-site learning experience, and at home and school follow up, students learn about the earth's cycles and our impact on these systems.

Prior to their arrival at the Outdoor Centre, one of our instructors visits the students at school. The excitement begins to build when the students are presented an invitation letter and map of the site from a mysterious character known as E.M. While at our site, this unseen character guides participants through a series of exciting adventures. While sharing a love and respect for the wonders and working of the natural world, E.M. enhances the learning experience while encouraging (and recognizing and making the most of!) a sense of curiosity and wonder in your students.

The program is based on fun and exciting active, hands-on learning experiences that lay the foundation for, and/or build on both the knowledge and experience of participants.

The Four Main Activities and Concepts Include:

Munch Line Monitors

While investigating signs of "munching" in the woods, students learn about the flow of sunlight energy and its role in the food chain.

The Great Spec-Tackle

Students follow "speck trails" and learn about the constant re-cycling of air, water and soil specks.

Connection Inspection

Students learn about interrelationships (water, soil, energy and air cycles) by "becoming" a part of the web of life.

Time Capsules

Students learn about the concept of change over time as they uncover "time capsules" that contain information and props that help teach about the earth and its time periods from Precambrian to Pleistocene.

The learning that takes place in these activities is complemented and enhanced by the experiential learning component, which includes:

Earth Walks

Unique nature hikes that encourage participants to discover and appreciate the many unexpected colours, sounds and smells of the natural world.

E.M.'s Diary Walk

An adventure during which participants follow a map and journal entry by E.M. that encourages exploration and observation of interesting things which are "off the beaten path."

Nature Spots

participants enjoy solitude in natural surroundings with some assigned written work and some suggested topics for reflective journaling.

As students complete their tasks and increase their understanding of the concepts, the secret identity and meaning of E.M. is revealed in special award ceremonies during which they are presented with keys to boxes that reveal the secrets of the keys.

The following is a summary of the keys to becoming an Earthkeeper:

K - Knowledge - All living things on the earth are connected.

E - Experience - Getting in touch with the earth is a good feeling.

Y - Yourself - Your actions on the earth make a difference.

S - Sharing - Helping others improve their relationships with the earth is an urgent task.

The first two of four keys are earned at the Earthkeepers Training Centre, and the second two keys are earned as students complete tasks back at school and home.