Resources for Outdoor Learning

Teachers! Ensure you have the right knowledge, tools and confidence to take your students outdoors.

Stewardship begins with a relationship to place. Strengthen your students' sense of place with regular and repeated visits to a local park.

Playing and exploring outdoors will naturally lead to student-led inquiry, an increased understanding and appreciation of place, and a desire to care for the spaces your students come to know.

These free resources were created for Surrey K-7 teachers and students and can be adapted for both the early years and secondary students.

Prepare for Your Park Visit

Set an example for your students – do your research, act responsibly, and make environmental stewardship a priority.

  • Know where to go. Ensure you are on public property with permitted access. Refer to COSMOS (the City of Surrey Mapping Online System) and see our COSMOS Tips for Teachers to get started.
  • Consider your environmental impact. Stay on trails and open lawns. Do not pick, trample or remove plants, flowers, berries or other natural items. Leave things how you found them.
  • Give wildlife space. Watch animals from trails to minimize stress. Do not feed them or disturb their nests. Animals are safer and healthier when they don't become accustomed to people.
  • Pack it in, pack it out. Have students take their litter home if possible. Do not leave unnatural items in parks (e.g., painted rocks, fairy houses).
  • Stay out of creeks. Footsteps can stir up silt in streams (which can suffocate fish and destroy spawning habitat) and crush salmon eggs. Do not create new trails to access creeks.
  • Be prepared. Check the forecast, dress for the weather, and scan the space before visiting.

Before you head out, review:

Learn Local Nature Knowledge

Specific to Surrey, these resources will help you to identify, learn and teach about local species.

Check out iNaturalist's Teacher Guide or download Seek by iNaturalist to help your students become citizen scientists.

Get Started

Incorporate these short, adaptable activities into your lessons to help establish a routine and help students better connect with place.

Investigate Local Plants and Shade Trees

Use these activity instructions and their accompanying templates to guide your study of local plants and shade trees, including how they change through the seasons.

"Dig Deeper" into Local Urban Forestry Topics

These guiding questions, background information and curriculum connections are designed to be used as launching points for inquiry projects, or to prepare for and/or follow your park visits.

Package Resources to Enhance Learning

The resources on this page are designed to complement each other and when used together will deepen students’ learning. Suggested combinations include:

How well do you know your neighbourhood shade trees?

Shade trees contribute significantly to the livability of our city. Help students learn which trees are growing around your school, what sets them apart, the benefits they provide, and how to care for them.

How in tune are you with the seasonal changes of our local plants and animals?

Being aware of and knowledgeable about local biodiversity greatly enhances students’ sense of place. Use a phenology study to incorporate regular and repeated visits to an outdoor space throughout the school year.

Contact

For more information on these resources, contact stewardship@surrey.ca.