Fern Hill School, Burlington Campus is situated on 22 acres of green space, including forest, marsh and meadow. Inspired by this diverse habitat, our Field Studies Programme is designed to connect students to their natural world.
Based on the European Forest School model, the Primary Programme focuses on nurturing the childâs innate sense of wonder. Using play and exploration, students will learn to identify natureâs patterns, ecological communities, and plant and animal species.
Older students will develop their field skills by participating in a variety of monitoring and restoration projects including bird banding, engineering habitat, placement and monitoring of Eastern Bluebird nesting boxes, creation of a Monarch butterfly way station and native plant butterfly meadow. In addition, Citizen Science projects including Fall and Winter birds counts, marsh monitoring, moth, butterfly and dragonfly counts and reptile inventories are part of this exciting programme.
This engaging and relevant programming fosters in children a sense of passion for their natural world, which in turn encourages enthusiasm for the academic component of the program, designed to develop problem solving, ingenuity and critical thinking.
Rick Ludkin, a lifelong birder and naturalist, is best known for his work as the founder of the bird banding program at Ruthven Park National Historic Site in Cayuga, Ontario. This program, now operates a highly respected bird banding laboratory, which has become a research haven for undergraduate and graduate students interested in developing their field skills and pursuing research in migratory songbirds. Rickâs professionalism and prowess as a bird bander has earned him a number of esteemed professional affiliations. He has partnered with universities across the country, including McMaster, Western, Windsor, Trent and Sherbrooke. Rick has agreed to lend his expertise to our Field Studies Programme at Fern Hill Burlington and to assist in developing a fully functional on-site bird banding laboratory. With his help, we will replicate on our campus some of the infrastructure and biodiversity that has made the Ruthven site such a successful and popular waystation for ornithological research. Naturally, this is a very exciting partnership for Fern Hill School.