Hands-On Learning in Nature at Niagara Parks
Ontario is home to an amazing diversity of plants and animals. Travel 15 minutes north of Niagara Falls along the Niagara Parkway to discover a unique spot of beauty deep in the Niagara Gorge. The Niagara Glen has become a renowned outdoor destination for hikers, cyclists, conservationists, boulderers and anyone seeking an opportunity to immerse themselves in nature. Offering a remarkable natural setting, geological history and a delicate ecosystem of approximately 490 species of plants and animals, the four kilometers of trails provide the perfect learning environment.
The Niagara Glen Nature Centre is located just a few hundred yards from the stairs that lead to the Niagara Glen and offers guests a wide array of refreshments, hiking supplies and unique souvenirs. While inside the Nature Centre, visitors are encouraged to visit the new Nature Exchange, a partnership with Science North providing an educational exhibit where visitors can learn about nature and the exciting features of the Glen while also trading for rocks, shells and fossils, discovered and collected during their journeys.
Here are seven tips to prepare you and your students for your hiking adventure into Niagara Glen:
1. Plan Ahead
Know your destination, plan the trails you wish to take and check the weather forecast to ensure good conditions for your day.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
Understand your capabilities and choose an appropriate hike—hikers often report the trails to be harder than they expected.
3. Travel Light
Carry a map, compass, whistle, small first aid kit, food (small snacks), water, sunscreen and bug spray.
4. Take Breaks
Based on your individual level of fitness, make sure you are taking the amount of breaks you need to recover and maintain the energy required to complete the trail(s) you’ve chosen to hike.
5. Watch the Time
Plan on taking twice the amount of time coming back up as you did going down, and plan to be back before dark.
6. Suitable Clothing and Footwear
Always wear athletic footwear that’s durable and comfortable. You will be putting a lot of demands on your feet, so hiking in flip-flops or sandals is not advised. Consider the weather and season, and bring a hat and jacket to protect you from the sun or changing temperatures.
7. Stay on Marked Trails
Trails are marked for easy navigation; leaving the marked trails may cause confusion and get you lost.
Now, let’s go exploring!
Courtesy of Niagara Parks Commission.